Earth Day Puppets: Procession of the Species

A Chico tradition takes on a whimsical but important hue.

Procession of the Species

EARTH DAY TRADITIONS... don't strictly happen on Earth Day, nor are they traditions of the typical unyielding sort. A festival might host a bike valet, someone ready to park any two-wheelers that roll on to the grounds. A baker might bake planet-shaped sweets for his shop window. And giant puppets summoning the spirits of those animals who need our care, attention, and protection? They often go on parade in and around Earth Day. A Procession of the Species event is one of the sweetest and most whimsical ends of our springtime, globe-focused fetes, and definitely a party made for all ages. (Yep, practically every event'll slap "all ages" on their fliers, but a puppet-y Earth Day happening lives the all-ages spirit.) There's one in Olympia, Washington, and Chico hosts a Procession, too, the first Saturday in May. Which means that the big puppets shall be out, in Lower Bidwell Park in Chico, on Saturday, May 3.

WHAT THE PROCESSION IS ABOUT: It involves "approximately 390 children from local schools who have made paper-mache puppets of endangered species." Some of the puppets are very large, even over-sized, with a grown-up needing to step inside the creation, the better to operate it. The ultimate result? A striking sight where endangered animals "come to life" in a sense, making it all the more real. Not that we humans don't respond to posters and pictures of beasties on the endangered list, but to see them out and about, whimsically, on a pretty spring day. lends their cause an element of immediacy. And that kids are the artists? So nice.

IT'S FREE... to attend, and other Earth Day-nice happenings shall go down, like the making of instruments out of garbage and an eco scavenger hunt. But, truly, shouldn't every city have its own Procession of the Species? It should be one of the main traditions of the holiday, in every city, given its creative, animal-loving heart. That it is so viral-ready, too, is a win for beasties everywhere. 

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