Long before the Fremont Solstice Parade was world-renown for the phalanx of naked bicyclists that kick it off, the event was created as a way to build community through creative expression.
The parade was birthed by Barbara Luecke and Peter Toms, migrant arts-workers who brought the concept of a Solstice Parade with them when they came to Seattle from Santa Barbara in the late 1980s. Solid Ground and its forebear, the Fremont Public Association (FPA), helped birth the parade by providing institutional support to the Fremont Arts Council. The parade was more or less grafted onto the Fremont Fair, which was produced by Solid Ground from 1974-2009. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce assumed control of the Fair in 2010.
The Fremont Parade was conceived with two fairly conservative restrictions that seemingly paradoxically fostered its spirit of pure unabashed creation: There were to be no printed words (or logos) and no motor vehicles (except aid chairs). This limited commercialization and freed participants to come together in a celebration of life and art.
Annual public workshops are at the heart of the parade, bringing artists and other participants together to create and collaborate on costumes and ensembles in an art lab environment. The parade and workshops are managed by the Fremont Arts Council.
In this brief video, Barbara Luecke tells the story of the genesis of the Parade and role that Solid Ground/FPA played in building community through the arts.