Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Fremont Solstice Parade?
- When is the parade?
- Where will the painting party take place?
- Do I have to ride naked?
- Do I have to wear a bicycle helmet?
- How long does it take to be painted?
- What kind of paint can I use?
- Where do I buy paint?
- Who will paint me?
- Will the paint come off?
- I’m a little, um, hirsute. Will my body hair affect my paint?
- Where can I rent a bike?
What is the Fremont Solstice Parade?
The Fremont Solstice Parade is a community event created and organized by the Fremont Arts Council. It is a fantastic celebration of the return of the sun, complete with larger than life puppets, floats, and street performers. The Solstice Parade kicks off the Fremont Fair which is a benefit for the Fremont Public Association. The parade operates with 4 guidelines – no printed words or recognizable logos, no motor vehicles, no live animals, and no guns or weapons.
When is the parade?
Where will the painting party take place?
In 2012, the main painting party was at the Old Ballard Library, 5711 24th ave NW, Seattle; a site hasn’t yet been found for 2013. If you choose to paint there, expect to pay $10 towards the expense of renting and outfitting the site.
Join the SolCycles listserve for updates. You’re also welcome to host your own party, just for your friends or announced to that list for others to share.
Do I have to ride naked?
Of course not, some cyclists chose to wear a little something. Try flesh colored undies for the ladies and speedos for the guys. Buy them cheap at Ross or Marshall’s and you won’t feel a bit of guilt covering them with paint.
Do I have to wear a bicycle helmet?
Yes, if you want to avoid a ticket. In August 2003, the King County bike helmet regulation was amended to include Seattle. Bicyclists in Seattle cited for violating the bike helmet regulation could receive a $30 fine. Creatively speaking, a bike helmet can be the foundation for a whimsical headdress. Think papier mache dragon heads, streamer flames, pinwheels…
How long does it take to be painted?
Depending upon the complexity of your design, painting can take from 45 minutes to 4 hours. If your design consists of a base coat with detail on top, you’ll need to leave time for the base to dry plus time for the whole thing to dry before we ride.
What kind of paint can I use?
There are a number of choices: textile acrylics, theatrical body paint, temporary tattoo paint, the list goes on and on. Whatever you use check each color for the ASTM non-toxic label. I use Speedball textile acrylic. If you plan to sport your paint at apres parade parties you should look into temporary tattoo paint. It’s more expensive, but if applied to clean, oil free skin (that means no sunscreen) it will stay put and look good longer than textile acrylics which are prone to flaking. Leaving flakes on someone’s sofa will not make you a popular guest.
Where do I buy paint?
Daniel Smith and Artist & Craftsman Supply both have Seattle stores and a good selection of non-toxic textile acrylics.
At the paint party, a selection of textile acrylic paint will be available for a suggested contribution of $5.00.
Who will paint me?
Whomever you’d like. Ask your friends. You never know, they may also be interested in riding so you might arrange a painting swap. I’ll paint your back, if you’ll paint mine. Another option is to leave the painting in the hands of the new friends you’ll make at the painting party the morning of the parade. Many people show up with their ideas and a couple of brushes and ask others to help them out. If you have a particular design in mind and it consists of repeating shapes (ex. starfish, angel fish, seahorse) you can speed things along by making stencils ahead of time.
Will the paint come off?
Eventually. Your best bet is lots of warm, soapy water, a washcloth, and a friend to scrub between your shoulder blades. Most paints come off in little flakes so I recommend using a hair snare in your drain to prevent them from mucking up your plumbing.
In 2004, I discovered the miracle of “pressure washing”. I attached a spray nozzle to my garden hose, stood in the middle of my yard and turned the water on, adjusting the nozzle until the water was a concentrated jet. This essentially peeled the paint right off my body. Combined with some sea salt and Dr. Bronner’s and I was clean in a record 30 minutes! It’s probably not a bad idea to stand in a kiddie pool or on a tarp to keep the paint flakes out of your lawn.
Last year, I experimented with dry scrubbing first. I used an old, rough washcloth to gently abrade the paint off and then lathered up and rinsed. Like a charm!
I’m a little, um, hirsute. Will my body hair affect my paint?
You can definitely be painted over body hair although it can be a bit trickier to get an even coat. Body hair also makes removing the paint more difficult and more painful. Some folks get into the hair removal aspect while others chose to go au naturel. It’s up to you.