Occupy Seattle plans to occupy Black Friday in Seattle

Nov 23, 2011

If you’re a local chances are you’ll find yourself at Westlake Park on the day after Thanksgiving – given that it’s Seattle’s epicenter for everything Holiday related. There’s the Macy’s Parade, the carousel and the tree lighting ceremony.

And this year, Occupy Seattle wants to take part in the festivities. 

That’s got some people worrying, that much like the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge, Occupiers plan to disrupt some of the city’s favorite annual traditions . 

'Family friendly affair'

But Joanna Wright, one of the organizers of Friday’s Occupy Black Friday events said emphatically, "Not at all!"  

In fact, it'll be a "fully family friendly affair" she said. Some of the activities planned for the public include a series of speakers, several arts and craft tents for kids and their parents and a community square dance.   

In other words, it's not so much a protest demonstration as it is holiday fair.

"It's partly encouraging people to buy less or buy nothing," said Wright. "It’s also encouraging us to think about this shopping season in a different way. If you are going to spend your money this holiday season spend it at local independent businesses and support our local economy rather than the big box stores."

Support for Occupy's 'buy local' message

Kate Joncas is president of the Downtown Seattle Association, one of the groups responsible for the Winter Wonderland. She said most of the surrounding businesses are in agreement with Occupy's "buy local" message.

"About 85% of the businesses in Downtown are locally owned, so that works for us. And for us Nordstrom and Starbucks are both local companies so we get almost everybody covered," she said.

Earlier this week, both Joncas and Wright met with the Seattle Parks Department to make sure the day’s plans go off smoothly.   JoncJon

 "We’ve been doing this for 30 years, right through WTO and all the things after that. And it’s always been a great, safe family place so we’re well prepared and we have added security so I think it’s going to be just fine," Joncas said.

All the Occupy Sponsored activities are scheduled between noon and 5 pm.

Last year about 25,000 people attended the parade and tree lighting ceremony. 

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