News / Arts & Entertainment

Mass Pillow Fight Turns Washington into Urban Playground

Mass Pillow Fight Turns Washington DC into Urban Playgroundi
X
April 15, 2014 1:50 AM
Hundreds of people gathered in more than 100 cities around the world this month to celebrate International Pillow Fight Day. For the eight year in a row, participants turned seemingly-normal public spaces into urban playgrounds, battling each other with soft and fluffy weapons and creating spectacles for those around them. In Washington D.C., a group of young professionals known as Capitol Improv used Facebook to organize a mass pillow fight on the National Mall.
Hundreds of people gathered in more than 100 cities around the world this month to celebrate International Pillow Fight Day.
 
For the eighth year in a row, participants turned seemingly-normal public spaces into urban playgrounds, battling each other with soft and fluffy weapons and creating spectacles for those around them.
 
In Washington, a group of young professionals known as Capitol Improv used Facebook to organize a mass pillow fight on the National Mall for the sixth consecutive year.
 
At precisely 2 pm on a bright Saturday afternoon, dozens of the group's followers ran toward each other on a patch of grass between the Washington Monument and the National World War II Memorial, waving pillows in the air and yelling at the top of their voices.
 
The April 5 battle had begun, much to the surprise of the many other people who were in the park to enjoy the nice weather, unaware that a mass pillow fight was about to break out around them.
 
Pillow fighting's popularity

 
Oscar Soto, Capitol Improv's lead organizer, was impressed with the turnout, saying the event drew more than 500 local and international students, professionals and parents with kids.
 
He says the universal appeal of pillow fights has been the key to making them an annual tradition.
 
"Everyone remembers being a little kid and doing them," Soto said. "Now, when everyone gets older, especially in a place like D.C. where it is really stressful, the idea of being able to go to a pillow fight and just unleash the beast is too addicting to let go."
 
Similar scenes unfolded on the same day in dozens of other cities in the United States, Europe and Asia, with organizers creating more urban playgrounds through the International Pillow Fight Day website. The event typically is held in early April.
 
Soto hopes the urban playground movement will spread further.
 
"If you want to do a pillow fight in your city, just go to pillowfightday.com and get it started," he said. "It’s happening all around the world, and you should be a part of it too."
 
Ann Curl, a Nashville, Tennessee resident who stumbled on the pillow fight while visiting Washington for a disability conference, said she likes the idea.
 
"I have a son with autism who would love to be in an organized pillow fight," Curl said.
 
New experiences
 
Some of the participants said they had never before joined a mass pillow fight. They included a group of Chinese graduate students at George Washington University.
 
One of them, a 24-year-old woman from Guangzhou in southern China, brought more than a dozen of her Chinese friends to the fight, to celebrate her birthday.
 
"It’s the first time I've seen a big event like this," she said. "It’s so exciting, and it’s very interesting. People, no matter if they know each other or not, are just fighting each other."
 
Two other first-time pillow fighters, friends Rachel Zabriskie and Meredith Berry from northern Virginia, said they had fun.
 
"It’s not very often you get to go whack people with pillows, or with anything," said Zabriskie.

"And in the middle of Washington!" added Berry.
 
Another two pillow fighters entered the battle in costumes and became instant targets for everyone around them. One dressed as a banana and the other as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the 1984 movie Ghostbusters.
 
After surviving repeated onslaughts, the costumed young men exchanged greetings, but vowed to continue their rivalry to be the center of attention next year.
 
They may get their chance. Capitol Improv hopes to stage its seventh Washington pillow fight in April 2015. Its other annual events include a No Pants Metro Ride held every January, and a SurviveDC  game of tag through the streets of Washington in May.

Mia Simon contributed to this report as video editor.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."