Procession of the Species

Procession of the Species April 27, 2015

Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography for

Nestled between Earth Day and May Day/Beltaine is the Procession of the Species in Olympia, WA. Procession is a set of a parades, a luminary night time parade on Friday evening and a Saturday afternoon one, that occurs in the last weekend of April, in conjunction with Arts Walk. It’s been happening for 20 years. It’s one of my favorite community gatherings of all time and is one of the reasons I love Olympia so damn much.

Why? I love a good parade. I love creativity, marching bands, the diversity of living things, seeing streets shut down for pedestrians and street fairs, and children drawing with chalk on the streets. I love communities that make their own fun. I hate advertising and enforced patriotism – both of which are absent here. Procession is entirely community supported. Anyone can be in it. It’s free – to watch and to participate. No words, thus no advertising, are allowed. Only human powered creatures are permitted. Thousands of people come out to  dress up, hang out, and celebrate the creatures of the Earth.

Little in life fills me with as much unabashed glee as this parade.

There is a real current of magic surrounding this parade and this weekend in Olympia. I begin to feel the Wheel of the year tilt around this time; Beltaine is full of magic. But Arts Walk and Procession weekend in Olympia has its own magic. It borrows from and adds to the wild, child-like, feral, creative energy that runs fiercely free during this time. Nimue reigns supreme!

All the photos below are mine, unless otherwise noted. For more photos by Shanna Paxton click on here for Arts Walk, here for the Luminary Procession, and here for the Procession of the Species.








Photo by Shanna Paxton Photography for


Photo by Shanna Paxton Photography for
Photo by Shanna Paxton Photography for


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