Posted by: Jack | April 29, 2007

Arts Walk & Procession of the Species

As I mentioned in the previous post, Arts Walk took place all over downtown Olympia today and yesterday. After a speedy morning run around Capitol Lake where I watched a number of dragon boat races, Anna and I biked back downtown to enjoy the excellent weather and huge variety of entertainment. After picking up some fresh fruit at the farmer’s market and sampling some interesting locally roasted coffees at Batdorf & Bronson’s tasting room, we left our bikes and joined the thousands touring around the city on foot.

The primary focus of this bi-annual event is the art; hence the title. Nearly every shop, cafe, church and business downtown features at least one gallery for the event. We spent a while viewing some of these but neither of us are really appreciative of art-for-profit masking itself as art-for-art. As such, one of our favorite galleries was a collection of drawings done by local 8th graders combining subjects presented in science with skills learned in art class.

Mid-afternoon we grew weary and made our way for Sylvester Park with the intent of reading and/or napping. On the way we were taken in by a sign advertising a gallery inside a large Christian church. We’ve been catching on to the fact that churches religiously provide free snacks and coffee in display of their generosity (if you ask me I would argue that the refreshments serve more as a successful lure). After looking at a few overpriced water paintings and enjoying some large cookies, we stepped into the main worship hall to have a look at the stained glass windows. This is when Anna spotted the church’s questionable central crucifix directly above the altar.

First of all, I don’t know where the concept of putting a globe in the middle of a crucifix came from. Christianity may be spread throughout the world but it certainly is not the world’s religion. More significant is the fact that they oriented this globe so that only North America is visible. If any part of the Earth earns a place on the crucifix I would expect it to be Israel. No one present for the centuries in which Christianity was created had ever been to, would ever travel to, or would ever even know of North America.

After sharing a good laugh about this silliness, Anna and I did indeed head for the park to read for awhile but found ourselves distracted by the hordes of people walking about and thus unable to nap. While reviewing the events schedule Anna found that a ballet recital was beginning momentarily in a building across the street so we made that our next stop.

We were left with about an hour to kill before the weekend’s climactic parade known as the Procession of the Species. Skimming our way through a few more galleries we eventually found ourselves back at the park staking out our parade-viewing territory. While waiting for the procession, thousands upon thousands of people crowded onto every available surface and we amused ourselves chatting about the culturally diverse assembly. We found the youngster below especially entertaining as he stood in the middle of the street, frowning away for a few minutes without moving a muscle.

The parade began and we enjoyed the wide variety of impressive costumes, dances, bands and floats. Unlike many parades, none of the persons or floats on display have commercial sponsors so everything is developed by amateurs. Despite this, the level of creativity left the entire crowd roaring with laughter and cheer. Below are just a few pictures taken as nearly a thousand paraders passed by.



  1. hey…once you get really really good at sewing, can you make me a squirrel costume like the one in your picture?

  2. Hey Thank you for reminding me of the Joys of living in Oly.. We left there (sadly) in 2001 to live in southern pines NC. Sooo Boring! Eveynight I dream of going to Ottos! Sure do miss Washington..Thanks for the memories

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