Parades are magical. Something about them- getting people out on the street making noise, creating art, and being together- generates community in ways it's hard to beat.

Since 2014, I've worked on a huge parade for Providence Honk Fest, a volunteer run, completely free, activist street band festival in the heart of Rhode Island's capital.

In my first year, I worked with the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts to make a banner. I spent the parade itself carrying a remarkably heavy paper mache panda down Wickenden Street with two friends. In 2015, I got much more involved, and emailed, painted, sweat, and celebrated with dozens of community members, artists, and volunteers to bring a 450-person procession to life. I also marshaled the parade in a fabulous plumed hat.

Photo: Dwight Wilkerson/Small Frye Photography, Jim Justice