What is the Procession of the Species?

The Bellingham Procession of the Species parade celebrates community, creativity, and the natural world. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes, play percussion instruments, and march together from the library through downtown. There are three clearly stated rules for participation: No written or spoken slogans, no live animals, and no motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs). The parade ends at Maritime Heritage Park where the community gathers for music and socializing.

Start Here Community Arts (SHCA), under the auspices of Allied Arts, works with the City of Bellingham Parks & Recreation Dept. and community volunteers to plan the Bellingham Procession. SHCA also organizes workshops for people to make costumes. Join the Procession of the Species Bellingham’s Facebook page and 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.

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 2003. City of Bellingham’s Public Works Dept. and Parks & Recreation Dept. sponsored the event with community and business support.

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

The 3 Rules

Three important rules make this parade unique:

  • no motorized vehicles

  • no live animals or pets

  • no written or spoken slogans