Hundreds Gather for D.C. Pillow Fight

Similar events held simultaneously worldwide

Sprinkled among the thousands gawking at cherry blossoms Saturday were a few hundred people holding pillows in their hands.

They weren’t tired; they were ready for a rumble.  Saturday had been designated as International Pillow Fight Day.

D.C. was one of hundreds of cities holding flash mob events as part of The Urban Playground Movement. Eager hitters from Boise, Idaho to Sydney, Australia also joined in the fun.

The word spread mostly through Facebook and other social networking sites.

At around 2 p.m., the whacking and throwing got underway on the lawn of the Washington Monument. About 15 minutes later another crowd began tossing around pillows in Dupont Circle.

Organizers say one of the best parts was seeing unsuspecting tourists caught up by spontaneity.

“Some of the people just wanted to hang out at the monument, then seeing a pillow fight break out, they just started grabbing anything they could find and began hitting people with it,” said a very excited Oscar Soto, a Mission Assistant of Capital Improv.

Capital Improv planned the D.C. event. They are the same group that decided to hold a No Pants Metro Ride in January.

There were some rules.  Among them: hit lightly. Though not everyone listened.

One young woman taking part says it turned a bit violent at one point. She says some of the hits on her actually hurt. 

Another rule was: don’t hit people with cameras. The goal was to avoid damaging anything of value.

Down pillows were also banned. Organizers say those feathers are just too messy to cleanup. 

Most of the 600 people taking part in D.C.’s Pillow Fight Day were young adults. Though even some toddlers and grandparents were spotted swinging pillows.

Is there a bigger purpose behind the organized chaos?

“It’s only for fun,” said Soto. “The only reason why we do this is to have people enjoy the company of others while hitting them with a pillow -- oh, and it’s a good outlet for your stress.”

The people behind the worldwide Urban Playground Movement say their goal of the events is to achieve a “global community of participants, not consumers.”

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