We lost a lot during the COVID pandemic. And while much can never be brought back, a group of passionate community members are working hard to give us something we have greatly missed, the Procession of the Species. Earthbound Productions is once again working hard to organize the Procession of the Species 2024 and is requesting that all those who want to help attend the Kick-Off Gathering on Saturday, September 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Olympia Armor Creative Campus (515 Eastside Street SE, Olympia).

Earthbound Productions Organizing Procession of the Species Again

After a three-year pause, the nonprofit Earthbound Productions is once again gearing up to give the residents and visitors of Thurston County the beloved Procession of the Species. The event is a registered environmental education program and happens each year in partnership with City of Olympia’s Spring Arts Walk, which will take place April 26-27, 2024.

Created by the community for the community, the Procession of the Species Celebration is a joyous, artistic pageant, embracing the languages of art, music, and dance to inspire learning, appreciation and protection of the natural world. Filling downtown Olympia’s streets with wonder and joy every year since 1995. It has been sorely missed.

“It’s pure magic, and so vital for our community,” says Joy Johnston. “The presence of so much willing acceptance deepens our capacity to recognize how capable we are of working together and responding to so many of our urgent needs…and that it can all happen in the context of so much color, music and joy is beyond remarkable!” 

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Photo credit: Molly Walsh

Respecting the Past While Creating a New Future for the Procession of the Species

Will there be anything new or different about the returning Procession of the Species? “This is a good question and a tough challenge, because what we can’t afford to do is simply fall into the motions of replicating the past,” explains Earthbound Productions Director Eli Sterling. “Indeed, re-imagining the Procession is nearly metaphorical of the very challenges we face as a society. We all wish for simpler times. But we have to disengage from simply going along for the ride in the meantime. That being said, the foundation of what has kept the Procession so very close in so many hearts will absolutely remain. For example, the same three Rules of no written words, no live animals, and no motorized vehicles will be in place. And we will still be organized by the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. But we are exploring ways to generate more theater within the Procession (and throughout the year) and pairing that with more exposure for the presence of environmental organizations and their successes.”

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Photo credit: Molly Walsh

Volunteer for the Procession of the Species 2024

The 2024 Procession of the Species cannot happen without you! The celebration needs to you make it come to life and the Kick-Off Gathering on September 30 is the place to be if you are interested in helping out. People from all walks of life are invited. They are in special need of instructors. “The Procession of the Species has always been a labor of love, and we need the help of the community just as much as ever to make it happen in 2024,” shares Sterling. “We’re inviting those who care about the Procession to join us on September 30 to connect with others, learn more, and discover ways to channel energy, talent, and passion into sustaining the Procession into the future.”

Volunteers do everything when it comes to the event: from marketing to costumes! This year, they will be creating Production Pods for volunteer sign up in the following categories:

  • Communications: social media, press, posters, brochures, t-shirts, swag(?)
  • Community Outreach: teachers, community and environmental groups, event presentations
  • Fundraising: grants, direct requests, Illuminated Ball
  • Art Workshops: batik, luminary, papier mache, masks, costuming, giant puppets
  • Music/Dance Workshops: recruitment, instructions, forming community bands
  • Community Art Studio: set-up, staffing, maintenance, clean-up, supplies.

“While the Procession is a big project, it is also a lot of fun, filled with a spirit of good camaraderie,” shares Sterling. “One of the things that keeps it so, is that there is no pressure for how much you would like to be involved. You can be involved a little or a lot; you can be involved from the beginning or involved at the end; you can design your own project or just simply watch. From music, to dance, to thematic environmental art, it is all open to you, with the entrance of an open heart.”

The Kick-Off starts early at 10 a.m. with studio tours for those interested, and then the meeting will commence at 11 a.m. Afterwards, at 1:15 p.m., there will be a fun group activity to end the day that promises to have everyone leaving with a smile. To learn more, visit the Procession of the Species website.

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