by Kirby Lindsay, posted 27 August 2012
For two months now – since the end of the 2012 Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade – discussions have been held about the dates of these events in 2013. While discussions have focused on picking one date, it appears that the final decision could potentially dictate the date for 2014 and beyond.
The first Fremont Fair took place in 1972. Three years ago the Fremont Chamber of Commerce took over production of the Fair, contracting with Bold Hat Productions for the actual heavy lifting. Since 1989, the Fremont Arts Council (FAC) has produced the Solstice Parade on the Saturday of the Fair, with 2013 to be the 25th Annual.
At public monthly meetings of both organizations, discussions have taken place about what to do in 2013 – should the Solstice Parade roll down the streets of Fremont on Saturday, June 15th (the day before Father’s Day) or Saturday, June 22nd (the day after the Solstice)?
Both events will require a Special Events Permit, issued by the City Of Seattle Special Events Committee. The Committee contains representatives from various government agencies such as Police, Fire, Health, Metro, Parks, and Liquor Enforcement. The Committee will consider the resources required, from the City and the organizers, to mitigate the impact these events place on the neighborhood and the City as a whole, including street closures, barricades, security, Port-a-potties, signage, etc.
The City & Special Events
According to the Chair of the Special Events Committee, Joanne Orsucci, both Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat, and Leslie Zenz, of the FAC, had contacted her about the date of the 2013 Solstice Parade. Orsucci denied telling anyone, as reported in Fremocentrist.com, that the City will not support the Parade being held on the fourth weekend in June. She did say that she was waiting for an application before bringing the matter before the Committee. “We take a lot of applications in December for the coming year,” Orsucci explained, but she can accept an application now.
As to the issuance of permits, “it’s not usually done first-come, first-served,” Orsucci explained, “it’s based on historic information.” When asked about the date for 2013, Orsucci answered, “I think they should turn in their application.”
The Fair, for many years, took place on the third weekend in June – with Father’s Day. In 1989, the first Solstice Parade took place on June 17th, before the Solstice on the following Wednesday. In 1991 and 1996, when the Solstice came on the following Friday (like in 2013,) the Parade still took place on the Saturday before it.
Yet, in 2002 when the Solstice also came on the following Friday (like in 2013,) Fair organizer Al Parisi decided to shift the Fair – and the Parade – to June 22nd. They were then on the fourth weekend of June, and a week after Father’s Day. In 2003 the Fair again stood up Father’s Day as Parisi deferred to the Parade (and some people’s sacred belief in the summer solstice) and the Parade rolled on the actual Solstice – June 21st (as could happen in 2014.)
Looking back, both weekends show a historic precedence.
Thematically, the Fair has shown little sympathy to Father’s Day – until Bold Hat took over and introduced several Father-centric activities. Yet, Bold Hat also supported a special yoga salute to the Solstice on Sundays at the Fair.
Respect For Pride (Conflict Continues)
In considering the date for 2012, when the Solstice took place on Wednesday, many FAC members gave strong precedence to the Seattle Pride Parade. This parade involves many of the same performers, spectators, and resources as the Solstice Parade – and, historically, takes place on the weekend after. The Pride Parade does march out on Sundays, but many FAC members could not support scheduling the Solstice Parade on the same weekend.
“The Seattle Pride Parade is, historically, the last Sunday each June,” explained Adam Rosencrantz, Seattle Out & Proud Board President, by e-mail, “the parade will be held on [June] 30th in 2013.” While it often takes place on the fourth weekend in June, with the Fremont Fair on the third, the Pride Parade will be on the fifth weekend in 2013. “The Seattle Pride Parade, being the last Sunday in June, is in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots,” Rosencrantz wrote.
In 2014, Father’s Day weekend falls a full week before the Solstice on the following Saturday. It did the same in 1997, 2003, and 2008, and the Fair and Parade took place on Solstice weekend instead of Father’s Day – and the Seattle Pride Parade followed them on the next weekend (as they can in 2014.)
Between Rock And (Limited) Resources
However, since 2009, the Seattle Rock’n’Roll Marathon has taken place on the weekend following Father’s Day. The Rock’n’Roll website already gives its date for 2013 as June 22nd – although by August 21st, 2012 Orsucci had not received an application for it.
The Seattle Rock’n’Roll Marathon does not enter Fremont, but it does shut down many major arterial streets around Seattle. It has impact on traffic in Fremont, as does the Solstice Parade (and the Fair.) All three events also require Seattle Police involvement and, potentially, other emergency responders. Obviously, all three will significantly impact our city, and take resources.
Orsucci would not comment on the potential conflict between these two events, or give her opinion on the date of the 2013 Solstice Parade. The Committee will make decisions about whether the two can take place on the same day, or if one will need to make room for the other, but only after an application is submitted for their consideration.
Whether in 2013 Solstice Parade takes place on June 15th, the day before Father’s Day, or June 22nd, the day after the Solstice, the 25th Annual Parade promises to be every bit as spectacular as spectators have come to expect. For those with those days free, however, the most fun of a FAC event is in the participation. Learn more on the FAC website – and see you there!
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.