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September 21, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Like a Pied Piper, llama leads parade of people through streets

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Joe Schoenmann

Zappos has a parade with a Llama as their leader as they head to Cashman Field to catch the 51s game, Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Zappos has a parade with a Llama as their leader as they head to Cashman Field to catch the 51s game, Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Tony Hsieh hugs a llama prior to a 51s game at Cashman Field, Thursday, April 25, 2013.

And a llama shall lead them...

Following a rented llama from The Beat coffeehouse north on Las Vegas Boulevard to Cashman Field, about 100 people took part in the first of what will be a monthly llama parade this summer.

Rush hour commuters on Las Vegas Boulevard slowed and gawked at the crowd of people as they walked under the highway overpass, past the Neon Museum and onto one of the rare patches of grass adjoining Cashman Field.

A Nevada state patrolman on motorcycle asked four men in the parade to help push a stalled vehicle out of one of the boulevard’s travel lanes at the intersection with the U.S. 95 exit.

The parade was led by a man wheeling a portable speaker blaring ‘70s and ‘80s rock music, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, and Kuzco the llama.

At Cashman Field, free grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and drinks awaited. Those who made the journey also received tickets to see the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s play the Tacoma Rainiers (the 51s lost a close one, 13-12).

Hsieh said Zappos will hold a llama parade to a 51s game every month during the baseball season. The next will be May 10, beginning at 5 p.m., at 6th and Fremont streets.

Hsieh has professed an affinity for llamas. One showed up at his birthday party last December. And as he and investors purchase property Downtown for redevelopment, the shape of those purchases works out to look somewhat like the outline of a llama.

Several people opted out of the game to see some of the speakers giving lectures in the downtown Construction Zone trailer at 7th and Fremont streets. This month’s group of speakers for the Catalyst Week series focused on health and wellness.

Speaker Sean Stephenson, a therapist, self-help author and motivational speaker born with “brittle bone disease” (almost all of his bones were broken at birth), talked about overcoming insecurities.

Just 3 feet tall, Stephenson, 33, who uses a wheelchair, received a standing ovation for his light-hearted talk — in his younger days, for instance, how he managed to get women to flock around him at clubs — that touched on the difficulties everyone faces in daily life and how to move beyond them.

For a list of tonight’s speakers, click here.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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