Resident wants to create competition that could make Burien rival Siena, Italy

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by Scott Schaefer

Resident John White is floating an idea that could make Burien rival Siena, Italy as “the greatest city in the world.”

“What do they have that Burien does not have?” White asked. “For more than 1000 years they have built strong neighborhood mojo through games and events. For over a thousand years Siena, Italy has enjoyed friendly competition with each of its neighborhoods. They have fun and games that lead up to a horse race twice per year. Each neighborhood has its own flag and insignia.”

White, who we’ve profiled before, is an entrepreneur whose most recent project has been as Executive Producer of the locally-made film “The Maury Island Incident,” which will be released this Fall. He is also the new President of Discover Burien.

According to Wikipedia, the ‘Palio di Siena’ is:

Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.

A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.

The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.

Here are some videos that show the “Palio di Siena’ in action:

Like Siena, Burien has 17 neighborhoods (download White’s PDF map here), and White is requesting:

  • a representative from each neighborhood
  • help further defining his neighborhood map
  • help designing flags and insignias for each neighborhood
  • help planning friendly games and events

If you’d like to help, please contact John White at (206) 498-9400 or email [email protected].

Now, we doubt that you’ll see horses racing down Ambaum or through Town Square Park anytime soon, but we’re asking our Readers to please chime in – what kind of neighborhood competition would YOU like to see? (HINT: how about a new version of the ‘Pie Joust,‘ which is taking a hiatus for 2013?)

Please leave your idea(s) in Comments below…

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3 Responses to “Resident wants to create competition that could make Burien rival Siena, Italy”
  1. TcB says:

    For a start, you could get the neighborhood names all correct. It’s Evans VALE not ville.

  2. Barbara Levich says:

    Seems like fun. If not a horse race, what about a pig race, or a donkey race down 152nd?

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