Earth Day parade in Bend now 25 years old

Video: Revelers in animal costumes fill downtown Bend streets

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin


Published Apr 20, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated Apr 20, 2014 at 12:06AM

The “Procession of the Species” parade streamed through downtown Bend on Saturday, with hundreds hitting the streets decked out as jellyfish and dinosaurs, butterflies and birds, and a single penguin piloting an orange tricycle.

Now in its 25th year, the parade is held in conjunction with the Earth Day Fair, put on by The Environmental Center. Following the procession up Bond Street and down Wall, the throngs of dancers, stilt-walkers, drummers and bubble-blowers retreated to Troy Field for the fair, an afternoon of music and food, a bicycle obstacle course put on by the Bend Endurance Academy, and visits with goats, chickens and rabbits trucked in by DD Ranch.

Pine Ridge Elementary School student and first-time parade participant Jake Bernardi dressed as a frog to join a team of 15 classmates on unicycles.

Jake, 9, said he and the others have been learning to ride the single-wheelers in a before-school program run by PE teacher Carisa Thomason. He said while he’s mostly gotten the hang of riding the unicycle, it still feels a bit dangerous at times.

“It’s weird. Sometimes I almost break my nose,” Jake said.

Tara Gabriel, 26, marched in a handmade costume depicting an oryx, an endangered antelope native to the Arabian peninsula. The costume, complete with an articulating jaw and artificial tongue and teeth, wasn’t made for Earth Day, she said, but gave her a good reason to join the parade for the first time in years.

“I haven’t done this since I was real little,” she said. “I was maybe 7, and I had a paper plate tambourine filled with macaroni.”

Seven-year-old Kora Payne joined a group of kids and parents from the Art Station, donning colorful tropical fish hats and carrying construction paper strands of kelp.

Kora said she hadn’t figured out what kind of fish she was, but had pieced together bits of its backstory.

“My fish is a fish that lays its eggs on the beach, and her enemy’s a shark,” she said.

Shirley McBride appeared Saturday as a griffin, a mythological beast combining a lion and an eagle. A Sisters resident and puppeteer, McBride said she picked through the Airstream trailer she keeps filled with puppet-making supplies to create her costume, a scavenging act appropriate to mark Earth Day.

“It’s old rags, old Halloween wigs,” she said. “I try to do everything recycled.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0387, shammers@bendbulletin.com