Sunday, June 22, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Eyes Have It At Fair In Fremont -- Wild Kickoff Parade Is An Ocular Overdose

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

To get to the Center of the Universe yesterday, you first had to scrounge for parking. You had to convince yourself that the one spot you found after driving around for 20 minutes was not a driveway, not a driveway!

You had to wait for a boat - a humongous boat, a boat as big as three Lower Queen Anne studio apartments - to pass through the ship canal, so the Fremont Bridge could shut safely and you could walk across.

You had to elbow your way past the Waiting for the Interurban people, and a gazillion real people - flower-wearing women, fanny-packed men, youngsters yearning for face paint - to find enough space on the curb so you could strain your neck to catch the sights.

Then you needed someone to interpret the Solstice Parade as it belly-danced and unicycled its way down North 34th Street.

Like the men painted blue - torsos, faces, hair and beards - with little stems on their heads, ogling a giant white balloon.

"They're spermatozoon," a woman explained. "The balloon is the egg. They were followed by a bunch of pregnant ladies and babies in carriages."

This woman obviously had been here before.

"This is a fair with a lot of substance," explained neighborhood resident John Kane. "You gotta sit back and take it all in."

"A lot of bare asses and zany behavior," said one non-Fremont guy.

About 120,000 people are expected to attend the 26th annual Fremont Fair, which continues through today. They will eat roasted corn and ice-cream bars that dribble; they will shop 400 booths, buy Happy Hats and hunt for Honey Buckets.

Yesterday's kickoff parade featured such spectacles as a giant green, polka-dotted seahorse on a trapeze; a pope on a bicycle; a pink Cadillac accompanied by many Elvises (Elvi?); men with butterfly wings on stilts; naked chests sprinkled with glitter; men wearing hooped dresses and flashing their privates, sheathed in purple bags.

Per tradition, there also were naked bicycle riders. They zoomed by so quickly it was hard to tell, um, the type of bike they were riding.

"I wish they had sort of stopped and waved," said Blue Hesik Lan, a 53-year-old artist who shimmied with a friend to a steel-drum band outfitted in Hawaiian shirts and frog hats.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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