Ensemble Logistics

Please make sure your team reads all the information below!

Parade Rules

1. You will be joining the Fremont Solstice Parade.  Each year we celebrate the longest day of the year through profound street theater, public spectacle, and a kaleidoscope of joyous music, art and dance.

2. We ask all ensembles to register for the parade using our online registration form. Descriptions of ensembles from the registration form will be posted to the FAC website and made available in the Powerhouse art studio. Any ensemble wishing to attract more participants can do so by adding contact information and by listing possible volunteer opportunities in the descriptions. Your description is a great way to get more people to join. Be creative clear and fun in your statement.

3. All Ensemble Leaders and Ensemble Monitors must attend a logistics meeting at the Powerhouse (3940 Fremont Ave. N.) Check our Calendar for details.

4. All Ensemble Leaders must check in at the registration table on the day of the parade.

5. The Solstice parade route is just under 2 miles long and will take approximately
2.5 hours to complete.

6. Please be aware that the Fremont Solstice Parade has a few rules that give it it’s flavor:
No motorized vehicles: Aid vehicles such as motorized wheelchairs are welcome!
No live animals: Please leave your dog and your dancing bear at home.
No real (or real looking) weapons or fire.
No launching of projectiles into the audience.  Water balloons are fun, but too dangerous.
No written words, or logos.  This means your group t-shirts or banner with words is not allowed. Time to get creative!
No leafleting along the route.

(not in 2019) Moonlight Float Move: Friday before Parade

On Friday night before the parade, the floats are moved down Fremont Avenue and positioned in place at our staging area (3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St) All ensembles that have created a float or giant puppet are responsible for moving it to the staging area.

At 9:00pm, Ensembles should have all their float “pushers” in place and ready. Once everyone is in place, we will begin moving floats. Floats are moved into position according to Parade Lineup order. The Parade Line-up will be emailed to you a few days before the parade.

The Float Move will be the only time you can move your float, and it is an excellent time for a technical trial run. Please pack tools or anything you might need to fix your float. In the case of a breakdown during the Move, please pull you float to the side of the road, and notify a orange vested monitor.

The floats will remain overnight in the staging area. Do not leave valuables on your float over night. There is no room in the staging area for overnight vehicles or trailers. If you have heavy equipment to add to your float before the parade, you may do so with your vehicle in the morning before the parade, but NO VEHICLES MAY ENTER THE STAGING AREA AFTER 11am.

The Moonlight Float Move is when we actually start the celebrations! Please join us even if you don’t have a float! If you have a glowing costume, wear it! If you have music for your float/ensemble, play it! This is a mini-parade along 36th street.

Parade Morning

We open Parade Registration at 10 am and close it down at 12:45pm. You will NOT be able to drive a vehicle into the line-up area on parade morning after 10am, so please plan to move anything you cannot carry in into the line-up area on Friday night. Parking a vehicle is not allowed at any time. Please plan for crowds and poor parking opportunities, and allow enough time to get on-site and in costume.

All ensembles need to check in at Parade Registration. The Registration table can be found at the head of the parade at 3rd Ave. and 36th (where Leary changes to 36th) Look for the orange canopy. At registration, you will be asked to sign a release form and you will receive a blue armband to identify your Ensemble Monitor (see below.)

Information, first Aid, and water are also available at Registration.  We do our best to provide a vehicle "sag wagon" to shuttle personal belongings to the end of the parade at Gas Works Park. Please be aware that space is limited and each ensemble is highly encouraged to carry its own stuff. Also, access to this vehicle may not be immediate on your arrival at the park.

At 12:15 we sound a “street closure” air-horn blast;
At 12:45 we sound a “ready” air-horn blast; and the Solstice cyclists are released onto the street.
At 1:00pm we sound three air-horn blasts and launch the Fremont Solstice Parade.
It is high excitement and social-time but it can also be very chaotic during line-up.

Please be aware of the time and of your ensemble’s readiness. Please, Listen for the horns. The parade route is just under 2 miles long and will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete.

Do not leave anything in the street once your ensemble is on the move. We have no idea what to do with personal gear, backpacks, tools, unused puppets/masks, banners, or all the stuff that gets left behind in the mad rush out of the gate. Please stay aware of all your ensemble "effluvia" and make a plan to carry it with you, pack it away, or put it in the garbage/recycling.

Parade Performances and Ensemble Activities

The Fremont Solstice Parade is a grand procession of community-based art ensembles that flow down the streets of Fremont. Despite the resplendent beauty of such a thing, every year, FAC is plagued with negative response, from all sides, about the long separations or “gaps” that can occur between the ensembles. Gaps are “the fly in the salve” of powerful street theater.

The primary reason for gaps forming in the flow of the parade, is that ensembles are moving too slowly, or moving too quickly. Please, help us to make a great parade by being aware of this issue and developing your ensemble to help us keep the parade moving smoothly and evenly.

Keep a two-car distance between you and the ensemble ahead of you. If the parade pace slows or stops, please maintain activity within your group, but DO NOT attempt to pass the ensemble ahead of you, or crowd into them. If the parade pace speeds up, please quicken your own pace to match.


There will be three “stages” set up along the route. These are not actual risers or a stage you cross, but rather, at each site, we will have an announcer telling the crowds the name and theme of your ensemble. Traditionally, these stages are places where your ensemble can perform for the crowds. PLEASE KEEP YOUR ROUTINES TO 1 MINUTE.

Vested Parade Captains

Parade Captains are our most treasured volunteers. The captains can be identified by their orange vests. These folks have a very difficult job of being an “enforcer” during a fun playtime activity. Captains keep the ensembles paced evenly and keep everything safe; creating the enjoyable experience of the Parade.

If you need assistance during the parade, please notify an orange-vested parade monitor and they will help you by calling for assistance. Please do not ask for their assistance in non-emergency situations.

If you are approached by a monitor and asked to slow, stop, move along, or any such request, please honor our parade and help your ensemble comply with their request. This may mean you have to break your routine to move along. You may also encounter a monitor telling you to move faster, and then, the next block, another may tell you to move slower. This is the push-and-pull nature of a parade. Please be patient, of good humor, and do your best to maintain two-car lengths between you and the ensemble in front of you.

Blue-Armband Ensemble Monitors

All ensembles are asked to identify an “ensemble monitor” from within your group. This person will be identified by a bright blue armband (we’ll give you one at Registration.) The ensemble monitor will be the person the orange-vested parade monitors seek out, and who will be responsible for communicating to your whole group about its pacing during the parade. This person should not be in the back of the ensemble.

Make sure everyone in your group can identify the ensemble monitor and knows what the communication cues are for such commands as: slow down; stop and wait; move faster, etc. Not everyone will need to hear or see the monitor if you set up and practice good “follow the leader” cues. Please let everyone in the ensemble know that if they are approached and asked to do something by an orange-vested Parade monitor, they must honor this request.

Toys vs. Trash

If you plan to distribute swag during the parade, consider what you are handing to people. Does it become Instant Trash? Leafleting during the parade is not allowed.

Plan for Everything

Parading can be exhausting. Can everyone in your ensemble survive the duration doing whatever activity you have planned? Everyone has water. You have first aid and repair tools with you.

Float Parking and Securing

The Parade ends in the front parking lot of Gas Works Park. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE PARADE ALL THE WAY INTO THE FRONT PARKING LOT. It may be tempting to leave or end your performance before reaching the parking lot in this last stretch. Please do not quit early. A parade is like a river and pulling out early disrupts the flow of the parade, confusing the ensembles behind you. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THE FULL ROUTE into Gas Works Park parking lot, you will forever be marked as unlucky.

At the end of the parade, please pull your float out of the way of the incoming groups and park it in a parking space in the designated area. Keep in mind we need to fit all 20+ floats in a small area.

It is common to leave costumes and props on the float and leave to enjoy the party in Gas Works Park, but know this area is not secure. Anything of value should be kept with you or in your car. Please don’t leave props, puppets, or costumes in the way of incoming groups.

Please label any artwork or floats that you want to save and plan to take it with you or pick it up at the end of the day. On Sunday, all ensembles with floats and other volunteers will begin deconstruction and clean-up of this area. Sometimes people get started earlier. Floats without “SAVED” signage will be dismantled for the trash / recycling.

After securing your float, join the party! Many ensembles remain for a “tail-gate” in the float parking lot. You are welcome to celebrate as you would in any public area. Use of alcohol and over-recreating may attract the attention of the police, and your fabulous costume will not a deterrent for a ticket. We host a great party inside Gas Works Park. There will be a FAC Hospitality Booth with refreshments for all parade participants. There will also be tasty food vendors and a FAC-fundraising beer garden. Please support our vendors as they support the Fremont Arts Council!

There will also be a fabulous assortment of art installations, food trucks and a main stage with live music. In cooperation with the Fremont Fair, a weekend-full of activities is promised for everyone in this signature summer event in Seattle.

Float Break Down, Noon Sunday after Parade at Gas Works

(We are not done yet!!) Ensembles are responsible for the break down and clean-up of their floats and puppets. If you have borrowed any parade props from the Powerhouse or the Arts Council for the parade, you are responsible for returning this to the Powerhouse. Please do not leave it in the parking lot for the clean-up crew to return.

We will be hauling the float bodies back to storage with tow-hitch capable trucks. WE ALWAYS NEED TRUCKS FOR THIS (parade@fremontartscouncil.org). Anyone showing up with a truck for hauling gets the first pour on the beer pitcher at the watering hole afterward!
We start the breakdown at 12 Noon on Sunday at the float parking area at Gas Works Park. Sleep in, have brunch with the family, and then come and finish the job with us. Plan to have dinner with the crew afterwards.

General Parade Reminders

No written words or discernable logos
No live animals (except assist dogs)
No motorized vehicles (except assist vehicles)
No real (or real looking) weapons or fire.

Test your mobility: Can everyone move easily in their costume? Can everyone see out of their masks? Float pusher-handles withstand the weight of the float with people on it? Try everything with personal endurance and mobility in mind. It is highly recommended to hold rehearsal times for your ensemble before the morning of the parade.

Can they find you? What a zoo! How will your ensemble members find each other? Consider raising a tall flag from your ensemble staging area so you are easy to find. At the registration table, we can only direct them to your general position in the line-up, which is not very helpful for lost souls.

The big and the tall: Large puppets and stilt-walkers need to have spotters and assistants in the parade to help with getting water, staying safe, making a quick-fix, or anything that can and will come up. What will you do if someone breaks a stilt or needs to get down in a hurry? What if your puppets arm falls off or the backpack strap breaks?  Identify places at the beginning and end of the route for stilting up.

Carry Tools and First-Aid: Floats breakdown; people need band-aids; and costumes need safety pins. Pack a parade kit to stash on your float: Stapler/stapes; rubber ties, safety pins, duct tape, scissors, razor knife, band-aids, ibuprofen, sunscreen and maybe a socket wrench to match your needs. What on your float or your ensemble might need a fix along the route? Make a plan for repair & safety!

Kids: Are you kidding, we love having kids in the parade!  Make sure kids have snacks & water, and use the potty's before the parade launches. Common sense kid practices come into play here. Remember they are small and more effected by the hot sun & extreme parade conditions, so prepare for their comfort and safety.

Parading can be Exhausting! Please plan to carry water for your ensemble during the parade. The parade is 1.3 miles long, but will seem much longer with starts and stops and the high-energy activity of being in the parade. Make sure all participants are able to make it the entire length of the parade with whatever their activity might be. Have a "step-out plan", in the case they are not. Do stilters know dismounting strategies along the route? Do your float pushers need to work in shifts?

Snack & Dash: We have a fantastic group of volunteers who will come out to meet you in the street with a little water and fruit just after the parade passes the Fremont Bridget. This is approximately the half-way point in the parade.

Toys vs. Trash: If you plan to distribute swag during the parade consider what you are handing to people and that it not become instant trash. A clean parade is a happy parade! Keep in mind that there are no written words, which means no flyers or advertising.

At the end of the parade: It is a great idea to provide some space on your float to haul both water and snacks, and perhaps a change of clothes (stilters need shoes and shorter pants; & puppeteers are sweaty!) for the end of the parade. It can take a while to access personal stuff hauled by the FAC sag-wagon, and having some essentials handy for tired participants makes everyone have a better time. Pick a designated meeting area in the park for your group. Plan t enjoy some time in Gas Works park after the parade.

Photographers. All persons wishing to take pictures from the street during the parade MUST have a press pass. Please see "Photographer Passes" info on our website, for information on how to obtain a press pass from the Fremont Arts Council. Dedicated ensemble photographers movign with a specific ensemble must also obtain a press pass to avoid being asked to leave by a parade monitor.

We look forward to celebrating the solstice with you!

Any Questions?  parade@fremontartscouncil.org



{Photo by G. Shaw 2018}