Friday, June 24, 2011

Provocative Parades & Liberating Limits

This weekend we attended Seattle's Fremont Solstice Parade. I love it, and Santa Barbara's version (which was actually the inspiration for the Fremont one); they're amazing outpourings of creativity and enthusiasm.

In fact, they're the only parades I've attended for so long that I forget that they're nothing like what most people think of when they think parade. Most parades are quite boring, an endless procession of the same old marching bands, cars with banners for the local hardware store, floats with beauty queens, horses in formation, and if you're lucky, Shriners driving little cars.

The Solstice Parades, on the other hand, are wild and crazy, unpredictable and delightful. There are many reasons why this could be, but I'd like to point to three simple rules that make all the difference:
  • No motor vehicles
  • No words or logos
  • No animals
With those three prohibitions (the same for both parades), the organizers have wiped out the standard creative crutches that allow most parades to slouch by without really doing anything interesting. Those three rules make it harder to put on a parade, but the result is so much better.

That's something to think about, next time you're embarking on a project. What standard element can you remove to force you to come up with something more interesting?


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