Tacoma kicked 2016 to the curb Saturday with its First Night celebration downtown, and the festivities kicked off with a parade led by a man riding a giant chicken.
And why not? Twenty-seventeen is the Year of the Rooster on the Chinese calendar.
The man who commanded the chicken was Doug Skove of Vashon Island, also known as “Sheriff Fowler.” He navigated what’s billed as the “world’s shortest parade” on 18-inch stilts, all the while giving high fives to onlookers and stopping to pose for photos with children.
Skove, who works part time for performance company Zambini Brothers of Vashon Island, has ridden that chicken in parades from North Carolina to Ohio. It was his first jaunt through Tacoma.
“I wish I could do this every day,” Skove, 54, said before the parade began its two-block run down Broadway. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
He led an entourage that included two bands and other folks carrying large puppets depicting tigers, rams, rabbits and dragons.
Hundreds of folks lined the streets to watch, warding off the pelting rain and 35-degree temperatures with umbrellas, gloves and heavy parkas.
The nearby Tully’s and House of Donuts were doing a brisk business in coffee and hot chocolate.
When the parade ended, about 10 minutes after it began, people grabbed something to eat from several food booths or headed to one of the stages set up downtown to hear live music or other acts.
Many didn’t seem to mind the weather, and many others were happy to see 2016 go.
“Kill it with fire,” one woman yelled from the parade staging grounds in the old parking garage near Broadway and Seventh as Skove was warming up his legs for the journey ahead.
No one raised an objection.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644