Fremont

Fremont Solstice Festival: Where Naked People Ride Bicycles at Seattle's Free Spirit Salute to The Sun

All are welcome!

All are welcome!

Who doesn't want to see naked people, incredibly painted, riding bicycles down a public street? I mean really, even the most prudish person has got to be thinking, "But isn't that uncomfortable, where do all their bits go?!" and you want to know how you find out, by going to the Fremont Solstice Festival.

This three day festival running June 17-19 has something for everyone. There is music, tons of local craft vendors for shopping unique items, a parade for the naked bike riders, dogs (separate parade, dogs are always naked so that wouldn't be as entertaining), and food galore (seriously, SO MUCH FOOD).

The Naked Bike Parade is actually called the Solstice Parade since it does include incredibly constructed floats, groups of dancers, talented musicians, many costumes and other fun things, but we decided to rename it Naked Bike Parade, because let's be honest, the naked bike riders is why 99.9% of people are attending the parade. The body paint on some of these people is insane! There are entire galaxies painted on groups of people, Seahawks team uniforms, mermaids, and more. The creativity is endless, and you honestly forget about the bodies and just admire the talent it took to create some of them.

Of course some people half-ass the paint jobs, we are looking at you Dalmatian/Cow/? and then there are some people who just like to be naked and don't put any paint on (#FreeTheNipple, amiright?!?).

The bike riders kick off the parade (at 3pm on Saturday, June 18!) and then the floats come after, which are usually very liberal (did we mention Trump supporters aren't allowed at this festival?) and creative. After the parade go hit the beer garden and see some shows on one of the music stages. We also recommend coming hungry. Serious eaters will plan their time in order to be there over two meal times to maximize the potential for eating. 

 

Seattle Art From The Center of the Universe

Seattle neighborhoods are similar to the tables in the cafeteria in high school. Everyone has a place they fit in. Belltown is for the Yuppies, Capitol Hill is for the music junkies, and Fremont is for the free spirits. These free spirits/artists/hippies call themselves Fremonsters and they reside in "The Center of the Universe." 

Fremont is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Seattle. It packs an insane amount of culture, food, and activities into a tiny space and as you walk around you will be delighted to stumble upon all the wacky, weird, and incredible art Fremont has placed around its neighborhood. We give you the highlights here:

The Fremont Troll

The most famous piece of art in Fremont, featured in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, is a giant troll who lives under the Aurora Bridge. It is inspired by the nursery rhyme we all know and love, Three Billy Goats Gruff, luckily our troll seems to only eat VW Beetles, not billy goats. 

Photo by  Xurxo Martínez    

Photo by Xurxo Martínez

 

Waiting for the Interurban

This statue has been an interactive work of art in Fremont since 1979. The five people and the dog waiting for the bus has always been a place where people add to the art for holidays, wedding proposals, and demonstrations. 

Fun Fact: The dog is rumored to represent the unofficial Mayor of Fremont, Arma Napoleon Stepanian, who pioneered the recycling program we now have in Seattle and was then replicated across the nation! 

Rapunzel

In the northwest tower of the colorful Fremont Bridge, Rapunzel stands trapped in her tower. Made of neon lights, this piece of art was created by a Fremonster, Rodman Miller, and is a permanent piece in Fremont to inspire your imagination as you cross the bridge.

Topiary Dinosaurs

A while back the Pacific Science Center had a couple topiary dinosaurs it no longer wanted so Fremont bought them for $1 and placed them at the corner of Phinney Ave and 34th (because why not??). They are 66 feet long, weigh 5 tons, and have over 7,000 ivy plants helping them keep their dino form! 

Lenin Statue

Love him or hate him, this statue of Vladimir Lenin is sitting outside Grinders for people to contemplate. It was built in Slovakia and torn down during The Revolution where it eventually made its way to Fremont, Seattle to encourage healthy debates and conversation. In our opinion we doubt there is any place more free than Fremont. Plus locals occasionally dress him in drag.

Late for the Interurban

This statue pays homage to "Patches Pals," a fun-loving kids show that aired for over 20 years on KIRO-TV. Patches and his girlfriend, Gertrude, run in different directions, arms interlocked in this charming piece of art. You can also find a donation box for Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center to give to the children these clowns brought joy to everyday. If that doesn't pull at your heartstrings, we don't know what will, you grinch.

We compiled a walking tour for you to check out all our favorite pieces of art around Fremont, Seattle!

We compiled a walking tour for you to check out all our favorite pieces of art around Fremont, Seattle!

Seattle Art: Henry Murals

Henry (full name Ryan Henry Ward) has been brightening up our city since 2008. How so? With quirky, whimsical murals depicting fantasy characters and wide eyed creatures on colorful backdrops all over the walls of Seattle. He has over 200 murals painted on various surfaces around town and unlike many street artists he always works under the permission of the owner of the wall.

Elephants found at Value Village at  8532 15th Ave. NW

Elephants found at Value Village at 8532 15th Ave. NW

Camel found at Value Village at   8532 15th Ave. NW

Camel found at Value Village at 8532 15th Ave. NW

Space Lizard found in a residential alley at 8016 20th Ave. NW

Space Lizard found in a residential alley at 8016 20th Ave. NW

 If you are trying to find the deeper meaning behind his art you don't have to. This isn't Banksy trying to make you question the decency of humans, Ward stated in a Seattle Pi Interview

"My message is cheerfulness and brightness," Ward said, "and encouraging a fun-loving spirit."

Which is definitely a message we can get behind!

Walrus on a bike found at  8th Ave NW and NW 67th St.

Walrus on a bike found at 8th Ave NW and NW 67th St.

Double camel found on 8th Ave NW

Double camel found on 8th Ave NW

You have probably seen a Henry Mural if you have explored the city much and you might not have known it was one of many created by Henry and if you haven't seen these works of art in person yet, we found a handy-dandy map to start you on your journey!  

HENRY MURAL MAP

While the map is not a complete list, it is a good starting point. We have discovered some of the murals listed on the map have been painted over (sad face), but don't worry the majority are still around!

Interested in buying his art? You can find out more on his website here.

Tree gnome found at  7010 8th Ave

Tree gnome found at 7010 8th Ave

Sasquatch found on Fremont Ave. N.

Sasquatch found on Fremont Ave. N.

Flower details at the Value Village mural

Flower details at the Value Village mural

You'll know it's a Henry artwork by his signature

You'll know it's a Henry artwork by his signature