Thursday, May 17, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nicole Brodeur / Times staff columnist

If you fret, stay clear of Fremont

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For those of you scared out of your gourds that your child may get a glimpse of a woman's breast or a man's member at the Fremont Solstice Parade, two words: Stay home.

Because it's going to happen. The nude bicyclists are going to flash down the open streets of Fremont next month, no matter what the Fremont Arts Council, the Seattle police or anyone else tries to do.

And they're trying, all right. Police want parade organizers to post signs noting the laws against indecent exposure, and warn of possible prosecution. Organizers want the cyclists to stop mooning the event's true hallmark: artistic freedom.

And Fremonsters such as Will Affleck-Asch want us all to stop ogling the two-wheeled parade-crashers and give more attention to the community members who put the event together: The working artists who volunteer their time and the kids who call it their own.

"My son's entire school marches in the parade every year," Affleck-Asch said of the kids at B.F. Day Elementary. One year they were green and purple hairy monsters; the next year, a school of fish.

Affleck-Asch, for the record, was a hammerhead shark "with a real claw hammer for a head, that moved," he told me.

Impressive. But they didn't get a second of airtime or a drop of ink.

"The media always focus on the cheap visual," he said.

That may be true - but it's also true that people need to stop fretting, go to the parade, take in the entire community that makes the Fremont Fair special and let whatever happens, happen.

If you can't, don't go. Or go anyway and warn your kids about the nude bicyclists. At the first sign of skin, cover their eyes.

Or you can do what I do with my kid: Laugh, and be glad that there is still some wildness in the world that doesn't involve beer, fatal beatings and a 12-member task force.

This isn't an Amish barn-raising, people. This is Fremont, the self-proclaimed "Center of the Universe," where a statue of Lenin shares a corner with Taco del Mar.

And the Solstice Parade isn't the Wallingford Seafair Kiddies Parade or Main Street at Disneyland. It's live-action cartoon, political and a wee bit warped - a nice break from our cookie-cutter, SUV and stock-option society.

Here, parade floats have themes like industrial waste, salmon fisheries and the expense of the roof on Safeco Field. The messages behind those floats will buzz over your kids' heads as fast as the cyclists buzz past them.

It would be one thing if the cyclists pulled over and did the flippy-floppy in front of every stroller on the route. But they don't. If you blink, you miss them - the prime front and rear views, anyway.

My bet is that rather than be traumatized, your wide-eyed kid will laugh out loud.

For my kid, catching a glimpse of naked people - or those in campy body stockings who look naked - is like getting away with something. It's an extra pump of fudge sauce on your sundae. It's conversation at the lunch table. It's bragging rights on the playground.

So what would happen if the police really hunted down the bicyclists and slapped cuffs on their ... somethings?

The crowd would boo - your kids probably the loudest.

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or at She would insist on a banana seat.


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