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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Creatures covered downtown at Procession of Species Parade

Tim Wright with his son dressed as a koala in a eucalyptus tree and his wife, Meaghan Doyle, dressed as a bird, participated in the Procession of the Species Parade for the first time this year, Saturday May 7. // Photo by Alex Martinez.

Bellingham’s downtown was covered with a variety of colors on Saturday, May 7, for the Procession of the Species Parade. People from all over the Pacific Northwest gathered to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the Procession of the Species.

The parade is an annual celebration, which has been happening since 2003.   

From a banana costume to animal costumes, parade-goers gathered in downtown Bellingham. Some people came to the parade for the first time as participants or as viewers, while others have been coming to the event for several years.

Amanda Grove, recreation coordinator with the Bellingham Parks and Recreation in an email interview said, “The purpose of the parade is to celebrate community through creativity, connection and our connection with nature.”

The event was free to the public and a partnership between the Start Here Community Arts and Bellingham Parks and Recreation, Grove said.

The Bellingham Procession of the Species Parade was inspired by the Olympia Procession of the Species, which was started by a group of Olympia residents in January of 1995.

The group of people wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and support the congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act.

Grove said the message of the parade might be different for each participant, but most of the people enjoy being part of the positivity connectivity.

This year around 1,000 people were part of the parade, despite the visit of the Republican Candidate Donald J. Trump.

Tanner Colvin, a first-time participant who drove from Seattle to meet with friends, was dressed as a “monitor lizard.”

“It seems like a very fun event, given that it’s not furry oriented,” Colvin said.

Furries are animal costumes that have human personalities and characteristics.

People were wearing different kinds of costumes from owls and giraffes to bananas.

“Each year, I never fail to be amazed at the creativity of so many people,” Grove said.

Colvin said that he has used his costume in different parades, and it took a week and a half to make the head of the lizard.  “[The head] is a resin base with glass eyes, plastic teeth, a silicon tongue and a week and a half in front of a sewing machine.”

He has used the costume for over two years, Colvin said.

Colvin said that he wanted to join his friends who also participated in the parade dressed as bunny and a fox.

“The parade has grown and morphed a bit over the years. Originally, there were lots of really large costumes that had been crafted by some very creative artistic people.” Grove said.

“I have noticed more and more families joining with simpler, yet still amazingly creative, costumes. I love that schools, such as Loving Space, and families are gathering and participating in this fun event.”

Meaghan Doyle said that it was her third time seeing the parade and her first year as a participant. Doyle’s family has come from the last two years from Blaine to be part of the event.

“I think this is the best parade around,” Doyle said.

Doyle was dressed as a bird and she said that it took her 30 minutes to make it. Doyle’s husband, Tim Wright, accompanied her and his son, Paxton, to the event.

“We’re a koala up in a eucalyptus tree,” Wright said. Wright was representing the eucalyptus tree, while his son was the koala.

“The Bellingham Police Department motorcycle unit was called from our event for the Trump rally,” Grove said. “The parade was covered superbly by bike officers and parking services. We greatly appreciate the support of Bellingham Police Department is helping to ensure a safe event.”



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