Countless hours, tremendous effort, creative genius – all three components were evident in this year’s Procession of the Species. Traveling through downtown Olympia on Saturday, April 27, the ever-popular event gathered around 3,000 participants and ten times the viewers.
While waiting for the Procession to pass, people drew creative designs with sidewalk chalk. The weekend-long Spring Arts Walk culminated in the Procession of the Species.
“The Procession grew out of a twenty-year-old conversation surrounding protection of endangered species and the involvement of community members with the natural world and with one another,” says ThurstonTalk.com writer, Jennifer Crain.
Since 1995, Eli Sterling has opened community art studios to bring Thurston County together. Masterpieces are conceived, designed and created within the walls of the art studios. Neighbors, classmates, grandparents, business partners, and dance troupes all join forces inside the studios. Massive animals are carried by multiple people dressed in matching costume. Musical groups transform into grey wolves. School children identify with a particular animal and dress accordingly.
The Procession of the Species operates under three rules – no written word, no motorized vehicles, and no live animals.
On the day of the celebration, the Procession is organized by four elements – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. People plan their costumes accordingly.
In 2010, the Procession of the Species was recognized for it’s preservation of culture. Geotourism, as defined by National Geographic values integrity of place, community involvement and conservation of resources. To read more about geotourism and Procession of the Species, click here.