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Fremont Solstice Parade Pictures & 2012 Info: Rules, Body-Painting, Renting Bikes, FAQs

Fremont Summer Solstice Parade & Naked Bike Ride, Seattle
Fremont Solstice Parade | Photo by Teresa C.

The 2012 Fremont Fair Street Festival is this weekend and that brings the annual Solstice Parade including the naked/body-painted bike riders. The parade is this Saturday at noon in downtown Fremont (Body-painting starts at 7:30AM). Below are more pictures, rules, schedule, and frequently asked questions.


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More Fremont Solstice Parade Pictures (NSFW), Schedule, Rules, Body-Painting, & FAQs:

Fremont Solstice Parade
June 16, 2012 | Begins @ noon
Downtown Fremont, Seattle | More info:


7:00-10:30 Group paint party.
10:30-11:00 Clean up and organize for ride.
11:00-11:45 Ride to parade.
11:45-12:00 Enter the parade route (after 12:00, don’t try to join up).

Parade-time details

Rendezvous at the start of the parade route – corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St – at 11:45am, painted and ready to kick off the parade!

Loop back through the parade route as often as you like, always keeping ahead of the parade, and always keeping to the right side of the street.

Painting parties

Lots of people organize their own painting parties.  Smaller groups can be fun.  If you are willing to share it with “new friends”, please post to [email protected].  Make sure you get to the parade start on time; joining after that is difficult and dangerous.

Main painting party

In 2012, the main painting party will be at the Old Ballard Library, 5711 24th Ave NW, Seattle.

Please bring $10 ($15 if you want to share paint) to pay your share of the cost of renting and outfitting the site.

Please arrive early; it gets crowded towards the end.  Get painted, then move outside to make space for others, unless you are helping others get painted.

Shared paint and paint brushes will be available (though the selection may be thin towards the end).  Get some paint in a small container and move away from the table to paint up.  Bring the left-overs back to the central table and get your next color.

Please clean up your paint area when you’re done.  Bring any usable left-over paint to the central table and throw the rest away.

You can leave stuff at the paint party, but it won’t be available till the clean-up party on Sunday, and its security isn’t guaranteed (though the building will be locked).

The Rules of the Cyclists

Don’t be creepy. Seriously. Don’t stare at people. Don’t take photographs without permission. If you’re not getting painted or helping someone get painted, don’t come.

Be respectful of your fellow painters. The painting party is tight quarters, so try to be mindful of other people getting painted around you.

Be respectful of your fellow cyclists. We’re a big group on a narrow street, and accidents may happen! Ride safely and try to be mindful of other cyclists.

Be respectful of other parade participants. We are just one part of the parade. Be sure to give room to the floats and dancers. Never circle back among the other participants!

Be respectful of parade spectators. The Fremont Solstice Parade is a family friendly event. Of course, folks expect the painted cyclists, but they may not want your junk in their kid’s face. Use good judgment when interacting with spectators.


The Rules of the Fremont Arts Council

No Printed Words: Any printed communications, written words, recognizable logos, signage, leaf-letting, or advertising in any form are prohibited on the parade route. Participants must stretch to express their ideas visually, groups flow together in one juxtaposed whole, and we’re all happily free of logos for the day.

No Motor Vehicles: People take back the streets! Creations are moved with human-power (motorized wheelchairs are always welcome); we’re happily free of cars for the day.

No Live Animals: Dogs, cats and hamsters are happier and logistics are easier without poopers or pooper scoopers (aid dogs welcome).

No Guns or Weapons: Joy and love rule the streets. We are safe and free of guns and weapons for the day.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fremont Solstice Parade?
The Fremont Solstice Parade is a community event created and organized by the Fremont Arts Council. It is a fantastic celebration of the return of the sun, complete with larger than life puppets, floats, and street performers. The Solstice Parade kicks off the Fremont Fair which is a benefit for the Fremont Public Association. The parade operates with 4 guidelines – no printed words or recognizable logos, no motor vehicles, no live animals, and no guns or weapons.

Do I have to ride naked?
Of course not, some cyclists chose to wear a little something. Try flesh colored undies for the ladies and speedos for the guys. Buy them cheap at Ross or Marshall’s and you won’t feel a bit of guilt covering them with paint.

Do I have to wear a bicycle helmet?
Yes, if you want to avoid a ticket. In August 2003, the King County bike helmet regulation was amended to include Seattle. Bicyclists in Seattle cited for violating the bike helmet regulation could receive a $30 fine. Creatively speaking, a bike helmet can be the foundation for a whimsical headdress. Think papier mache dragon heads, streamer flames, pinwheels…

How long does it take to be painted?
Depending upon the complexity of your design, painting can take from 45 minutes to 4 hours. If your design consists of a base coat with detail on top, you’ll need to leave time for the base to dry plus time for the whole thing to dry before we ride.

What kind of paint can I use?
There are a number of choices: textile acrylics, theatrical body paint, temporary tattoo paint, the list goes on and on. Whatever you use check each color for the ASTM non-toxic label. I use Speedball textile acrylic. If you plan to sport your paint at apres parade parties you should look into temporary tattoo paint. It’s more expensive, but if applied to clean, oil free skin (that means no sunscreen) it will stay put and look good longer than textile acrylics which are prone to flaking. Leaving flakes on someone’s sofa will not make you a popular guest.

Where do I buy paint?
Daniel Smith and Artist & Craftsman Supply both have Seattle stores and a good selection of non-toxic textile acrylics.
At the paint party, a selection of textile acrylic paint will be available for a suggested contribution of $5.00.

Who will paint me?
Whomever you’d like. Ask your friends. You never know, they may also be interested in riding so you might arrange a painting swap. I’ll paint your back, if you’ll paint mine. Another option is to leave the painting in the hands of the new friends you’ll make at the painting party the morning of the parade. Many people show up with their ideas and a couple of brushes and ask others to help them out. If you have a particular design in mind and it consists of repeating shapes (ex. starfish, angel fish, seahorse) you can speed things along by making stencils ahead of time.

Will the paint come off?
Eventually. Your best bet is lots of warm, soapy water, a washcloth, and a friend to scrub between your shoulder blades. Most paints come off in little flakes so I recommend using a hair snare in your drain to prevent them from mucking up your plumbing.
In 2004, I discovered the miracle of “pressure washing”. I attached a spray nozzle to my garden hose, stood in the middle of my yard and turned the water on, adjusting the nozzle until the water was a concentrated jet. This essentially peeled the paint right off my body. Combined with some sea salt and Dr. Bronner’s and I was clean in a record 30 minutes! It’s probably not a bad idea to stand in a kiddie pool or on a tarp to keep the paint flakes out of your lawn. Last year, I experimented with dry scrubbing first. I used an old, rough washcloth to gently abrade the paint off and then lathered up and rinsed. Like a charm!

I’m a little, um, hirsute. Will my body hair affect my paint?
You can definitely be painted over body hair although it can be a bit trickier to get an even coat. Body hair also makes removing the paint more difficult and more painful. Some folks get into the hair removal aspect while others chose to go au naturel. It’s up to you.

Where can I rent a bike?
Recycle Cycle rents bikes and they’re very close to the end of the parade. I’ve not rented from them, but they’ve always been reasonable when I needed bikes, parts, or repairs.

Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle is farther away, but it also has a good reputation.


More Seattle Solstice Parade Pictures:

Fremont Solstice Parade 2009
Photo by offwithyourtv

Fremont Solstice Parade 2009
Photo by offwithyourtv

Fremont Solstice Parade 2009
Photo by offwithyourtv

Freemont Summer Solstice Parade - 2011
Photo by TC.

naked cyclists
Photo by sabersaigefl

Freemont Summer Solstice Parade - 2011
Photo by TC.

Fremont Solstice Finals-112
Photo by deborahsemer

Fremont Solstice Parade 2009
Photo by offwithyourtv

Fremont Solstice Parade 2011 - cyclists 140
Photo by Joe Mabel

Freemont Summer Solstice Parade - 2011
Photo by TC.

Fremont Solstice Parade 2011 - cyclists 128
Photo by Joe Mabel

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2 Responses to Fremont Solstice Parade Pictures & 2012 Info: Rules, Body-Painting, Renting Bikes, FAQs

  1. Kendall C Seifert August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Very cool event! A day of freedom :)

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