Always wanted to be part of a walkable community? To get to know your neighborhood from a pedestrian’s perspective? If you live in Los Angeles, you can be part of a big walking community for a weekend. The Big Parade, a 2-day, 40-mile, 135-stairway walk happening July 18 - 19, invites all to join in the peripatetic fun.
It all begins at the Angel’s Flight Stairway in downtown L.A. at 7 am on Sat., July 18. Walkers will collectively begin marching — passing by more than 50 historic and cultural landmarks, visiting community groups, and stopping to camp for a night near Sunset Junction, until they hike through Griffith Park to get to the Hollywood sign sometime on Sun., July 19! Check out the extremely detailed maps (day 1 above, day 2 below) to get a sense of all the L.A. you’d get to see.
The Big Parade isn’t a grueling marathon-esque event, since it’ll be broken up by, among other things, a paddleboat traverse of Echo Park Lake. The walking pace will be gentle enough for anyone to join — though there will be a lot of stairclimbing. The walk will be punctuated at various points by a marching band, games, and other shenanigans.
Dan Koeppel, the stair-climbing enthusiast who organized The Big Parade and, incidentally, the author of Banana, calls the event a “community participation walk/event/performance.” A core group of 10 or so walkers will do the entire event, with at least 50 more joining the walk for anywhere between 5 minutes to a day or more. He invites all to join — and especially invites community groups to get involved, telling the walkers about themselves as well as becoming part of the walk itself.
Why walk? Writes Dan in the event FAQ:
The short answer is that Los Angeles is a beautiful place to walk, and I wanted to find a way to express that. There’s a lot of effort put into “proving” how walkable Los Angeles is. What I hope is that this is a second-generation journey; proof has already been provided, and by gathering people from across the city and exploring together, we will celebrate something that has been evident from the start: that L.A. is best seen, experienced, and navigated - not just for fun, but as a day-to-day practice - on foot.
Have bad knees but want to be part of the walk anyway? Follow @BigParadeLA on Twitter. Don’t live in L.A.? Organize a Big Parade in your town –