The confluence of May 1 falling on a Sunday was nearly too perfect, so the forces that be imbued In the Heart of the Beast’s 2011 Mayday Parade with temperatures in the 30s and flurries scattered in the air. But the forces of nature can only work to bolster a thoroughly lefty, endlessly creative protest, and there were few complaints from the crowd—only support for one of the most artistic public celebrations of dissent in the country.
As a men dressed as dodos preached of absurdity, a roasting pig shared a float with a hirsute rock band, and elegant crows announced the parade’s theme of “Caws for Alarm,” the audience displayed how kaleidoscopic cold-weather layers can be. Paradegoers displayed an aggressively springish nonconformity in everything they wore, mirroring the against-the-grain thinking of the parade. Pairing florals and a kindergarten color pallete with an overwhelming number of fleece berets, the Mayday Parade crowd invested the windy, grey day with color and spirit, huddling together for warmth and celebrating the symbolic joy of beating back oppression.
This photoset focuses on individual fashion, but check out our other photos from the parade here.