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‘March of the Vegetables’ will usher in spring

  • Written by Valley View Staff

It’s a parade for vegetables. Really. On March 25, Duvall will celebrate its first-ever March of the Vegetables Parade through the streets of town.

The parade will be a pedestrian-only event, populated with people-powered floats, handmade costumes, local musicians and marching bands,  all coming together to welcome the vegetables back for another growing season.

The parade will celebrate all that is wonderful about the Snoqualmie Valley – its art, agriculture, beauty and vibrant small-town communities. It’s not just about dressing up as vegetables (although that part is pretty fun too). 

veggiesMelissa Borsting, executive director of Sno Valley Tilth, holds a radish she created. (Courtesy photo)In addition to the parade, local artists will come together from January through March of 2017, in different Valley locations, to teach parade participants how to build floats and costumes for the parade.

The event is the brainchild of Lake Margaret-area resident Betsy MacWhinney, who said she came up with the idea after participating in a series of workshops titled “A River Runs Through it.”

The series was hosted and facilitated by Jennifer McKeown of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, with the goal of identifying how to prepare for the inevitable growth in the area, while maintaining and preserving what’s important, as well as improving the economic vitality of the small towns.

“One thing that came out of the workshops is that residents of the valley value the quirky, whimsical, artistic, small town feel to the communities, as well as a strong appreciation for the local agriculture,” MacWhinney explained, via email. “I thought it would be fun to have an event to highlight, enhance and celebrate those aspects of our community, and a parade seemed like a good way to do it, so I assembled a small group of friends, and we’ve been working on it since last April. We welcome additional volunteers.”

She noted that Sarah Cassidy, local farmer and educator, joined as an enthusiastic co-leader of the effort.

“Last spring, we took a field trip to visit her friends, Ann Pelo and Eli Sterling in Olympia. Eli founded the Procession of the Species, a beautiful art parade that has been going for over 25 years,” she said. “Ann and Eli have provided some mentoring. We adopted the three rules from their parade, which are: 1. No live animals (except service animals); 2. No motorized vehicles (except motorized wheelchairs) and 3. No words or symbols.

“The prohibition against words and symbols can be puzzling at first – but in this divisive time, the goal is to come together as a community around art. A word or symbol that might help one person feel included may make another person feel excluded.” 

Because this is an art parade, the group is offering a number of art classes, allowing people to create something to wear or carry in the parade. They have sprinkled the classes around various local venues, including farms, so that participants can get a chance to explore the local area. 

melissaKids play with the art they made at a free March of the Vegetables art class in November. (Courtesy photo)Several well-known local artists will be involved, including Dan Cautrell, whose art can be seen on Main Street; Joe Lee Davidson, who offers art for children at the Carnation Farmers Market and also has art showcased on Main Street; and Paula Strobel, whose beautiful puppetry is beloved.

The group has tried to arrange classes that will appeal to all ages, from very young children to adult “art and wine” events. 

“We’ve received grants from 4Culture and the Duvall Foundation for the Arts, and will use the money to pay for parade costs (permits, insurance, etc.), and to pay artists to teach the classes.  Sno Valley Tilth has partnered with us on a third grant,” she said.

MacWhinney would also like to credit Kym Orr, at Dotted Loop Design, for designing and building their website for free.

The parade will take place at 3 p.m. on March 25 through the streets of Duvall, and end in McCormick Park, where there will be entertainment and a chance to sign up for CSA shares.
“We are delighted by the warm reception of this idea from the community, and hope people will decide to be in the parade,” she said.

To learn more about the event, please visit marchofthevegetables.org or the Facebook page.

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