Parade the Circle shines in Cleveland’s University Circle once again
It was a colorful and vibrant celebration on Wade Oval Saturday as the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle returned after a three-year pandemic pause.
Much has changed since the last parade, and with that in mind this year’s theme was “transformation” symbolized by the libélula, which is the Spanish word for dragonfly. It’s also a symbol of resilience, hope and happiness.
Parade participants were encouraged to incorporate the symbol in their designs for floats, costumes, performances or music.
Leading this year’s festivities was Cleveland artist Héctor Castellanos Lara in his first year as Parade the Circle’s lead artist after decades as a featured artist.
“The dragonfly has so many meanings in other countries and everything is about being positive, change, hope, new beginning, rebirth," Castellanos Lara said. "It's about making the most of every moment.”
The parade kicked off at noon and wove through University Circle led by Castellanos Lara's 22-foot dragonfly and accompanied by percussionist Dylan Moffit's Samba-de-Cidade band.
Parade officials estimated roughly 30,000 people showed up for the event.
Castellanos Lara was anxious about leading the 2023 parade. which was the 31st in the art museum’s history. But with perfect weather in the low 70s, the sun shone brightly on the event making for a triumphant return.
“We really touched the hearts and minds of everyone. They had been waiting for a moment of fun, like Parade the Circle," Castellanos Lara said. "The new generation of kids were watching. Like my grandson, he's two years old, and he'd never seen the parade before. I was so happy. I saw his face full of joy."
About one thousand community members from across Northeast Ohio participated in the parade production, which began with float and puppet building back in April.