by Kirby Lindsay, posted 18 Apr 2014
This year the Fremont Arts Council’s (FAC) legendary Solstice Parade will actually take place on the summer solstice, that is, the 21st of June, starting at 3p. Planning for this people powered parade has already begun, and the staff – led by veteran Solstice Parade Director Leslie Zenz – will hold weekly meetings (on Mondays at 7p at The Powerhouse) to plan with everyone interested in being involved.
On the staff this year is Kudra Migliaccio as Communications Manager. A solstice baby – her birthday falls on the day of the parade this year – she actually got the job after spending last fall and winter as FAC Operations Manager. Migliaccio has also spent the last few years as organizer of the Solstice Cyclists (please don’t call them painted cyclists or, worse still, naked bicyclists.)
For 2014, Migliaccio will experience the parade from the inside, while she invites others in through the workshops, ensembles and other methods that transform this very public performance into thousands of personal expressions of art.
‘Open To Anyone’
“It’s really open to anyone,” Migliaccio said about participating in the parade, “It’s a way to get involved in the community at large.” As she explained, “It’s for everybody!”
The Solstice Parade is for everyone, who can follow four simple rules: no real weapons, no live animals, no motorized vehicles, and no words/logos. This “artistic, creative event,” as Migliaccio simply described it, requires that participants get creative to communicate their vision, or expression, with the thousands and thousands of spectators.
Held on the solstice, the parade also celebrates the sunlight. “It’s a time for people to come back out,” said the ‘solstice baby’, “after hiding in darkness.” It’s time to come out and join the community celebration.
“People want to come together,” Migliaccio observed, based on her experiences with the cyclists. “More people want to join the [Solstice] Cyclists,” she acknowledged, since, “old school parade arts are a lot more work than stripping down and painting up.” Yet, “we are growing as an organization,” she said about the FAC, “and we want to grow.”
“The FAC wants to have people think about the [Solstice] Parade as world-class,” Migliaccio observed. The Parade has all the elements of a world-class event. The FAC makes funds available to artists with creative vision through its Dave McKay Grant Fund. They’ve also previously invited – and intend to invite more – international artists to teach the art of parade, and to participate. The Solstice Parade even offers a brilliant selection of opportunities for those who want to take part in something larger-than-life in their own backyard.
With the merging of Honk Fest West – a musical celebration of brass street bands – to the parade, the celebration on June 21st will stroll the streets of Fremont at a variety of volumes with contributions by a mix of hands.
The Cost Of World-Class
For 2014, the FAC hopes to find a location for the parade build beyond its primary workshop at The Powerhouse. “Building floats outside is difficult,” Migliaccio acknowledged, particularly in a Seattle May and June, and the space can get crowded, leading many to build ensembles and floats in their own garage.
The big question this year has been (and will continue to be,) what can create a a sustainable funding source for its Parade. This year the budget is $77,000 (mostly for security, permits, insurance, and fencing.) Last year, the non-profit, 501(c)3 Arts Council attempted to establish a few fundraising beer gardens around the neighborhood, without any success. Now, FAC volunteers are seeking a new idea.
The Fremont Fair – an entirely separate event, organized by the Fremont Chamber and Bold Hat Productions – also struggled in the last decade for a formula that covered its increasing costs. Now, the Fair actually raises a small amount of money that the Chamber can give to Solid Ground and other local causes. This year, the Chamber has also looked at ways it can help the FAC raise money for the parade.
Since she started with the Solstice Cyclists in 2007 – when the former organizer had to step away at the last minute for a family emergency – Migliaccio has had a hand it asking participants to pay a donations. Donations primarily cover the rental of a space where the Cyclists, who ride before the Solstice Parade and are not a part of the FAC, can gather (last year they were 700 strong) to get painted. Two years ago, the FAC gave money to the Cyclists, through a McKay grant, and last year Migliaccio was able to present the FAC with a donation out of money given, generously, by participating Cyclists.
Get Involved, And Play!
Donations are needed to keep the Solstice Parade going, so even if you only intend to watch this year, please give generously to the Green Hat ensemble as they fundraise from the crowds.
If you want to find out about the Parade – or have an idea for an ensemble or a float – join in the fun! Attend a meeting at The Powerhouse next Monday at 7p and get engaged.
Also, keep track of the FAC – thanks to Migliaccio – through its website and the FAC Facebook page. Now is a great time to start planning your project, or signing on to help another realize their own vision. Come play!
- FAC Highlight Reel: Several Words About Solstice Cyclists, And Other Stuff
- by Kirby Lindsay, August 19, 2013
- Giving All To The Green Hat
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 10, 2013
- As The Band Goes Marching… To Gas Works! (Honk Fest West)
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 6, 2011
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.