Created by the community, for the community ...Celebrating creativity, community and our connection with nature......

How did the Procession begin?

In January 1995, a group of Olympia, Washington residents wanted to organize an event to both celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and to support Congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act. The group decided on a positive statement of support in the form of a community celebration. They developed ideas for action and agreed on several basic tenets along with three simple rules. These became the group’s working principles. The Procession of the Species celebration was born!

Since that wondrous beginning, the Procession has spread across the land. In our own community of Bellingham, Washington, the Procession of the Species parade and Community Art Studio were first introduced as part of the town’s Centennial celebration in 20034. City of Bellingham’s Public Works Dept. and Parks & Recreation Dept. sponsored the event with community and business support.

Now an annual Bellingham tradition in the spring, the event has continued to inspire the community to celebrate our connection with nature and each other through fun, imaginative and noncommercial activities.

What Goes On Behind the Scene of the Procession

In the past, six weeks prior to the parade, people in the community gather at the Environmental Learning Center at Maritime Heritage Park, to bring to life unique inventions, imagined and developed out of all kinds of recycled materials — wondrous creatures and plants in various forms — masks, large wearable puppets, inventive instruments, colorful banners, etc.

Now randomly organized workshops happen all over town each year, best to join Procession of the Species Bellingham's facebook page & watch for updates on any workshops offered in the current year.
Better yet organize your neighbors or friends and have a Procession costume making party, there are some great resources for supplies around town.

On the day of the Procession, all participants gather behind the Library, (in front of City Hall) at 3:30 p.m. The parade is organized and starts at 4:00 It starts down Lottie Street, Commerical, W. Holly and moves through downtown Bellingham—celebrating community and our connection to nature. The parade ends at Maritime Heritage Park where the community gathers for commencement ceremonies.

The Bellingham Police Department estimated that last year’s parade drew somewhere between 800 and 1200 people. Three important rules make this parade unique:
no motorized vehicles - no live animals or pets - no written or spoken words.

There is a core group of volunteers affiliated with Allied Arts of Whatcom County who operate under the name Start Here Community Arts (SHCArts). They are responsible for the set up, staffing and break down of the Community Arts Studio, storage and distribution of materials at the end of the year.

What do we need to bring all this about? Each year, large, heated, safe studio space must be found. We want to hear any and all suggestions about space at a reduced rate or rent free for the future. People power is another essential ingredient to make this work — volunteers with energy, enthusiasm, ideas, and various skill sets to help us develop a web site, compile slide shows, create a Adopt-a-Puppet Program, find permanent storage location, catalog and index photos, build resources for our reference area and establish contacts with other community groups. We look forward to hearing from people in the community about others who might be interested in getting involved — names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail
addresses.

We want to thank the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department for sponsoring and bringing us this year’s parade. Start Here Community Arts wants to thank all who have donated time, materials and support.

We could NOT have done it without you!