The Luminary Procession provides its own spectacle, a line of glowing flowers, stars and animals carried through the streets the night before the Procession of the Species.
This smaller procession, first held in 2009, has attracted more and more spectators in recent years. Procession founder Eli Sterling estimates that 2,000-3,000 people gathered last spring to watch the lanterns — including a 19-foot-long narwhal — and listen to the music played by some of the same community bands that provide the soundtrack to the Saturday procession.
Artesian Rumble Arkestra and the Crow Drummers are part of Friday’s (April 28) lineup, while Samba Olywa’s drummers and dancers greet the procession with a joyful noise in Sylvester Park.
So large have crowds gotten that Capitol Way between Fifth and Seventh avenues will be closed to traffic Friday evening for the event. And Sterling is promising a bigger spectacle this spring, too.
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“We’ll get out some of our older luminaries that haven’t been out on the streets in a while,” he said. “It’s an investment for families to come out at 9:30 at night. We feel a responsibility to deliver that magic.”
What: The procession before the procession celebrates the element of spirit with illuminated lanterns and live music.
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday (April 28).
Where: Begins at Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, Olympia, and proceeds to Sylvester Park.
Get involved: If you’d like to carry a luminary, meet at 8:30 p.m. at the Procession Studio, 406 Water St. SW, Olympia.
Note: The event is weather-dependent, because the luminary art can’t withstand heavy rain.