Saturday, July 25, 2009

Torchlight, Tonight

Whenever complete strangers ask me why I live in a zoo like Belltown, I often forget to mention the Seafair Torchlight Parade. Sure, I tell them that I live really close to just about everything (except a Target), that the restaurants are good (those that I can afford to go to), that my rent is relatively cheap (it used to be a lot cheaper) and that I have the honor of living near Seattle's craziest people (they're right next door). I always forget about the parade. I really love this event. It is superior to the Gay Pride Parade in every way, except that there's no giant rollerskating penis. Instead, you get to see bands and hydroplanes and city officials in convertibles and all the Miss Seafairs and floats and drill teams (what is their purpose??) and those really loud pirates, who, back in the day, used to barge into the crowd and carry off young women down the street. And people also used to march the whole parade with real torches. I remember this. I know. I've marched in it something like four times.

Well, times have changed. The pirates keep more to themselves (but they're still really loud), there isn't a live torch in sight and people from Kent and Auburn no longer bring their yard-couches down here to abandon once the parade is done. That tactic always created complications during post-event clean-up. OK, so maybe present-day festivities lack the edge of yesterday, but it's still great to watch. Plus, it's a Seattle institution. Plus, about half of it goes through Belltown. Plus, I just walk over two blocks to 4th & Blanchard to watch it. And that's where I'll be tonight.

Here's what a big deal this parade is around here. This is just one of two giant review stands they're building at 4th & Pine, which isn't in Belltown, but directly benefits from all the excitement created in Belltown:

My all-time favorite parade-thing is the Chinese dragon. Here's what they looked like last year on grainy cell phone video:

Yes, they do a lot of running.

After this, there's nothing to look forward to in Seafair. The hydro races are pretty pointless and the Blue Angels, gosh, I really don't like them. They cost a shitload of money to operate, their routine makes no sense unless you're directly underneath them and they're loud. But I do love the parade. And I'll see you there tonight.

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