I was recently told I had to check out the Solstice celebration in Seattle. I’m not entirely convinced other cities celebrate the summer solstice, but Seattle does so in an involved way consisting of a parade, a naked bike ride, and a festival in Gasworks Park. Imagine, if you will, a place where hundreds of people let their freak flags fly with no second thoughts. That is the Seattle Solstice.
I’m not gonna lie, my main purpose for going to the festival was to people watch and because I figured it would make a good blog post. My plan was to take a million pictures so you could all experience it with me. After all, if you dress up in elaborate costumes or are naked in body paint, you’re basically asking for the attention. However, I discovered quickly that there is a fine line between taking pictures of things I find ridiculous and feeling a little like a pervert. So I didn’t take pictures. You’ll just have to trust my descriptions or put it on your calendar for next year.
I forfeited watching the bike race, and decided to venture down to the park later on. There was live music playing and some food trucks around, and a lot of people dressed as they would never be on any other day of their lives.
I saw a lanky, pasty, nerdy-looking guy in Princess Leia’s slave outfit from Return of the Jedi when she was chained to Jabba the Hut.
I saw plenty of people who decided to forgo body paint all together and just walk around straight up naked, including a naked Asian man who was dancing around with a spear.
There was a man with a Hannibal Lector mask wearing nothing but see through, mesh man panties, with red crosses painted on his thighs.
There was a man that was easily in his late 50’s, and that’s being generous, that was watching the same Brazillian drum line show as me. He was dancing like a crazy person, letting his limbs flail around limply, letting his freak flag fly, clearly under the influence of something, getting all up in the band’s business.
I saw two old men bumping and grinding with a girl who was likely younger than me that made me wonder if she was a mail order bride, a hooker, or if she was just that desperate. I wanted to walk over to her and say, “You can do so much better than this,” but decided that would break my code of keeping to myself during these shenanigans and just observing.
I was watching the band and managed to spot some dancers that made me look like a dance pro–and my dance ability has been equated to that of Elaine on Seinfeld…on multiple occasions. A man walked up next to me wearing a sleek man bun (a topic that could, and likely will in due course, have its own entry on here). I gazed at him in fascination, wondering what it could be that he uses to make his hair look so luxurious. I decided to keep to myself and be a creeper from a distance, as this probably wasn’t the place to ask for beauty advice.
It was basically the best people watching I’ve seen since I’ve been here. And while part of me appreciates the message should be people embracing their true selves, a stronger, more judgmental part of me believes that no one’s true self is slave Leia or a creepy naked Hannibal Lector. I’m a cynic, what can I say? It’s clearly just more of a drug fueled shit show I was watching unravel in front of me. I will say props to the people with awesome costumes making a conscious effort for the right reasons and the bands that were fantastic, but sadly they were outnumbered by crazies. That said, like a car crash, I couldn’t look away, and stayed several hours taking it all in with fascination, so where on the crazy spectrum that puts me, I have no clue. Somewhere in the middle between a naked serial killer and the person who just stays at home during solstice.