The aim of Procession of the Species Olympias wildly colorful and creative celebration of nature and community is to create a lasting change in the way people view their place in the world.
We hope to affect the hearts and the minds of a generation, said Eli Sterling, the events founder. He figured it would take 20 years to make that happen.
On Saturday, the flora and fauna of the 19th procession including a whale, a sea slug, huge flowers, a virus and a really big pack of wolves will traverse their way through downtown Olympia.
Therell be music, chalked images on the streets and the best people watching of the year.
And, yes, a lot of inspiration for the future: If 14-year-old Wren Brastow is any indication, Sterling is achieving his goal.
Its a celebration of life and the creative spirit, said Brastow, a freshman at Black Hills High School.
Brastow has been in the procession every year of her life. At 3 months, she was in a baby sling and wearing bear ears. At 3 years, she was dressed as a bat the first costume she made herself. At 5, she was a turtle hitching a ride on the back of the wheelchair of another turtle, the late Carl Riddels, who needed a counterweight to balance his shell.
But Brastow isnt just an avid participant in Olympias Earth Day ritual. Shes also a longtime volunteer who remembers helping others with their costumes well before she started school.
Her first time out of the house, when she was 5 days old, was for a procession organizing meeting, said Laura Killian, Brastows mom, who has been involved in 17 of the 19 processions.
Leading up to this years procession, Brastow and Killian worked two shifts a week helping people settle into the Procession art studio and answering their questions. They also teach workshops on papier-mâché.
When new people show up to the studio, she gives the best tours, said longtime volunteer Shari Trnka, who designs the processions much-larger-than-life flowers.
It surprises me when people from this area dont know what the procession is, Brastow said. I want to spread the procession to get it as far and wide as possible.
Her dedication has led people to start saying that some day shell be in charge of the beloved annual event.
Hey, I would totally take over the procession, Brastow said. I think its a running joke because the first time I heard it, I was really enthusiastic. The job of directing procession isnt open, but thats OK with Brastow. She has a backup career goal.
Ive been considering taking a job in civil politics, she said. Some people just dont see the value in the procession because Oh, youre not making money. We dont want to make money. We just want to make art, learn and create.
Id like to do something to change peoples views.
Last week, she wasnt yet sure what shed be doing in the 19th procession perhaps helping to carry a giraffe or a sea slug.
I like making my own things, she said, but sometimes volunteering or school gets in the way.