Freaks and Frocks at the 34th 'Occasional' Doo Dah Parade

Word bubble bunch at Doo Dah 2011

Lina LecaroWord bubble bunch at Doo Dah 2011

Update: see more of Lina Lecaro's photos in her 2011 Pasadena Doo Dah Parade slideshow

Uniformed marching bands, ma$$ive floats, robotic waving beauty queens... snooze. Parades can be so predictable. But Doo Dah is different (and we mean that in more ways than one). The self-proclaimed "twisted sister" to Pasadena's other more famous floral extravaganza on New Year's Day, the Doo Dah Parade -- which marked its 34th "occasional" event this past Saturday -- offers communal revelry celebrating everything from subversive political statements to wacky interest groups to cosplay cliques, all mixed in with local artists, musicians and residents who like to party.

The flamboyant street procession moved from Old Town on Colorado Blvd. (the same as the Rose Parade's route) to further down the boulevard in East Pasadena last year with much success. Not only did the new locale offer easier access, parking and observing via curb-lined lawnchairs, it seemed more appropriate amidst indie businesses in the area like Poo-Bah's Records and long-running dive the Colorado Bar.

Hillbilly heathens vs. Jesus Freaks

Lina LecaroHillbilly heathens vs. Jesus Freaks

This year, another group hoping to be noticed descended upon Doo Dah in a very overt way. Christian groups holding giant yellow signs with "Jesus Saves From Hell" and "Repent -- Read the Bible" were highly visible throughout the event and even got vocal, yelling scriptures, when they deemed certain paraders most sinful or blasphemous, like the "Liberal Agnostics & Aetheists" carrying around and bowing to "Cheesus Chrust Pizza," for example.

Praying to a higher power: pizza.

Lina LecaroPraying to a higher power: pizza.

Zombies sweat it up in the sun, dance to Thriller.

Lina LecaroZombies sweat it up in the sun, dance to Thriller.

Doo Dah hoopla.

Lina LecaroDoo Dah hoopla.

Ultimately, even the religious hordes became part of the experience. Doo Dah's old-hippie-meets-new-Burning-Man-fan sensibility, makes for a mish mash where all are welcome. No one movement, scene or style dominates. Steampunkers, drag queens, stoner groups, plushies, bikers, "Howdy" Krishnas, pink slipped teachers, roller derby girls, DD "queen" Red Rosie and random look-at-me types (many not even part of the actual parade) convene for one chaotic, crazy fun fest that's as welcoming to families as it is to audacious adults.

Kids in fact, participate in a big way: they are the most fervent "tortilla and marshmallow throwers," a DD tradition involving hurling food at parade walkers (originally inspired by the Rose Bowl's prohibition of these items).

After all the tortillas were twirled, bubbles were blown and booties were shaken on the hot asphalt, Doo Dah-ers weren't done, either. After parties continued at the American Legion Hall blocks away and at the Colorado Bar, well into the evening, with many in attendance already giddily planning outfits/group themes for next year.

See more photos in our Doo Dah slideshow, here.