World Pillow Fight Day: Moore Square Mayhem

Lighter than a Feather

March, 13, 2009

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Raleigh is joining cities world wide in the feathered frenzy of World Pillow Fight Day. This unsanctioned flash mob-styled event goes down on April 4th from 3-4 pm at Moore Square.

A few of you may be wondering, why have a big pillow fight? The idea is a part of a larger public space movement, specifically the urban playground movement, which has a goal “to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television, and consciously rejecting the blight on our cities caused by the endless creep of advertising into public space.”

Feathers fly and teddies soar as you converge for a giant urban pillow fight! Swing and whack as you evade pillow-wielding assailants. Bring a soft pillow at 3 PM and wait for the signal. Pillow fight!
Costumes and funky pillows encouraged.
Tell your friends, bring a crowd and…......... pillow fight!!!!!!!
A few things to keep in mind:

+ Soft pillows only!
+ Swing lightly, many people will be swinging at once.
+ Do not swing at people without pillows or with cameras.
+ Remove glasses beforehand!
+ The event is free and appropriate for all ages.
+ Wait until the signal to begin.
+ Do not abandon your pillow at the location.

Cleanup: Please limit your use of feathers. As the pillow fight grows in size, so does the mess. By participating, you are pledging to clean up twice the mess you made.
Please bring trash bags and other such cleaning implements so we can leave the site cleaner than we found it.

The clean up really is important for events like this to succeed. San Francisco has held a number of pillow fights, but the mess left after the annual Valentine’s Day Soft Smackdown has caused city officials to consider cracking down on flash mob antics.

More info via Facebook.
photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes


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Downtown RaleighFlash MobPillow Fight


  • Alice
    03/13 02:05 PM

    yippee!  yippeeyippeeyippee!!!

  • Celia Fate
    03/13 02:47 PM

    I find it very suspicious this was scheduled while the Carolina Rollergirls have an interleague practice scheduled in Morrisville. VERY SUSPICIOUS!!!!  Maybe we’ll have our OWN pillow fight! So THERE!

  • DPK
    03/14 07:13 PM

    I hope you’re not being serious Celia.

  • Mark
    03/15 10:24 PM

    This was done in San Francisco.  The city and residents were not too amused.  Who pays for the cleanup after these events?  You can clearly see in one of the pictures below that there are feathers and debris all over the place.  I think having fun is a good idea, but what about being responsible for cleaning up the mess you make?

  • celiafate
    03/15 11:23 PM

    I have no less than 13 pillows in my closet. Always be prepared for pillow fights and zombie attacks. Very serious!!!!

  • Drew B
    03/16 10:09 AM


    Just don’t get the two mixed up. I’d hate to come swinging with a pillow and get my head lopped off with a chainsaw. ;)

  • aesylvatica
    03/16 01:39 PM

    I am the person for first declared that Raleigh was participating in World Pillow Fight Day, and I strongly echo the sentiment that Mark made about clean up.

    It it vital!!!!!

    I’m serious…. Those who can: bring rakes, brooms, trash bags, etc to help clean up the mess that will be made by those of (unfortunately) bring feather pillows.

    It’s going to be a blast!!

  • TheWaveLife
    03/16 02:09 PM

    I am like so totally there. ;-)

  • RaleighRob
    03/16 04:32 PM

    Due to the mess, I think they should try to gear things towards foam pillows!

  • smitty
    03/16 10:41 PM

    Sounds like a great way to trash the park.

  • Emily
    03/17 12:38 PM

    Does this sound like a horrible idea to anybody else?  You would think it would be a clue that this is a bad idea when they are having problems with it in San Francisco.  What makes them think it would be any different in Raleigh?

  • f
    03/20 01:17 AM

    There are several issues with this event that need to be posted in this forum before it goes any further.  1) Moore Square Park is reserved for events scheduled through the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and this event has not gone through the appropriate channels.  2)If the organizers have not submitted an event application to the DRA, then they do not know whether or not the park is currently reserved for another event—this could really compromise the efforts of others who have already gone through the proper channels and may have already paid over $1000 for the deposit/rental/permitting fees associated with renting the park 3) have the organizers considered the extreme maintenance drains this event will pose for the City of Raleigh staff in charge of maintaining the park?  This event will cause the City of Raleigh to pay staff to clean up the mess (unbudgeted money) and rob the Parks and Recreation Department of resources that could be better spent putting in new plantings or maintaining existing ones along Fayetteville Street or elsewhere downtown (or myriad other much needed maintenance/beautification projects, for that matter). 4) Of course this sounds like a really awesome event, even I can see that, but when the clean up falls upon those who already have a full work load who are called that day to report to Moore Square to clean up after a mob of pillow-fighters, that is just not fair to them.  They have more important things to do with their time and the City has better ways to spend your tax dollars than to pick up down feathers and synthetic fluff.  Please consider those who will be on the receiving end of this event and either choose not to participate or to encourage those at the helm to call it off.  Thank you so much!!!!

  • Betsy
    03/20 09:17 AM

    Points 2, 3, and 4 may be perfectly valid but I must object to Point 1:

    1) Moore Square Park is reserved for events scheduled through the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and this event has not gone through the appropriate channels.

    Incorrect.  Moore Square Park is a public place, not a private venue reserved for approval by any organization.  It is a fact that parade and picketing permits in public places in Raleigh are obtained through the Raleigh police department.

    Other than that, any person may be present in Moore Square for any lawful purpose at any time.  It is a public square.

  • RoboCopOnAcid
    03/20 10:09 AM

    Why don’t they just have an indoors pillow fight?

  • Sweet Baby Jesus
    03/22 01:35 PM

    because that would be stupid and suck at the same time

  • Stephanie
    04/01 11:56 AM

    I echo the sentiments about clean-up.  If people really do this because they want to make Moore Square Park a “significant part of popular culture” in Raleigh, don’t leave it looking like a Katrina path.  I know a family with 2 and 4 yr old daughters who play there each weekend and it won’t be a good example of being socially responsible if the place is a mess.  Beyond that, I think the “geniuses” of the urban playground movement should think of something else besides a big pillow fight.  It’s been done.  And even in San Francisco, clearly was not effective.

  • f
    04/03 06:40 PM

    I am not, by any means, intending to attack Betsy, I just want to defend my earlier post and help educate anyone who might be following this thread…

    Regarding the comment, “It is a fact that parade and picketing permits in public places in Raleigh are obtained through the Raleigh police department.”, I say that this event is to take place in a park, not on City Right-of-Way, and that this is an event, not a picketing demonstration. 

    Also, in 2007, the Raleigh City Council, in an effort to consolidate event application processing downtown, approved the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to manage an Events Task Force. The ETF was tasked with creating rules, guidelines, and an application process for ALL downtown events. The ETF forwards recommendations to the Raleigh City Council following the review of event applications and the City Council has the power to approve or deny.

    In regard to another comment, “Other than that, any person may be present in Moore Square for any lawful purpose at any time. It is a public square.”, I say, well, yes, it is a public space, just like any ball field or tennis court. However, if those ball fields and tennis courts are reserved for ball games and tennis lessons through Parks & Rec, then it is not open to the general public for use at that time.  Family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, etc are all held on park properties, through facility rentals, and Moore Square Park is part of this system.

    A pillow fight of this MAGNITUDE would compromise the availability of the park to the general public, and potentially pose a threat to the safety and security of the general public, thus making it an event for which an application would be appropriate and necessary.

    Let’s reinvent the urban playground movement and plan an event that won’t end with participants renewing their contempt for police officers and their affinity for killing the fun.  Let’s plan something that makes everyone happy—isn’t that what playgrounds are meant to do?


  • aesylvatica
    04/04 06:44 PM

    Today was a BEAUTIFUL & AMAZINGLY success!!!!!
    It was such a blast. About 125-150 people total showed up, and laughed and frolicked in a way not normally available to people.

    About 5 police officers smiled and watched from the sidelines, enjoying the merriment. Everyone respected the request of only bring foam pillows (no feathers), so there was only a tiny bit of fluff to gather at the end. Lots of people chipped in to pick this almost imperceptible amount of fuzz, and since these folks were already cleaning up they also picked up other litter in the area. This corner of Moore Square is now cleaner than it was in the beginning of the day!

    Thank you everyone who made it out!!!! Let’s do it again next year, and bring even more people out to enjoy each other, play and reinvigorate joy & life into our public spaces!

    (btw, the N&O and NBC 17 (and others outlets that I am not sure of) covered the event, so there should be plenty of media out soon.)

  • Micah
    04/04 09:37 PM

    I’m glad the participants had fun…What a waste of time watching them for three minutes of my life was.

  • Imagine Raleigh
    04/05 12:19 PM

    What is up with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance trying to denounce a fun and enjoyable event in a city park, an event the DRA did not sanction.

    Did someone forget to give SIG his credit for the idea of the Pillow Fight. Being an almost native to Raleigh, I do not answer to the DRA.

    If you are so worried about the cost of clean up after some clean, safe fun then come down and help clean the park. Don’t stop the fun just because you did not get to brand others efforts as your own….

    We have reached a dangerous point when a privite organization can determine how citizens use our park system. This is the reason our City has not produced any new Greenway miles in three years and the Carousel in Cahvis park has not been renovated.

    Take your DRA Brown shirts and go run Cary and get out of our way while we beat each other silly with pillows.

  • Steve W
    04/05 12:53 PM

    The urban playground movement comes to Raleigh! This was good old-fashioned free fun and a perfect use of public space. We also left the park cleaner than we had found it.

    I agree with Imagine Raleigh.  I am a big supporter of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, but this isn’t a fascist police state and let’s don’t forget it.

  • f
    04/05 04:43 PM

    Kudos to the pillow fighters for keeping Moore Square Park cleaner than they found it and for keeping the numbers down enough to allow others to be able to use the park.  Obviously the planners for Raleigh’s event proved to be far more responsible and respectful than those in San Francisco!

    In response to the greenway trail complaint, the City web page shows approximately 40 miles of greenway trails are currently being planned for construction within the next 4 years.  That will be an increase of almost 50% of our existing trail mileage!  Besides, is there really much to complain about, currently having over 60 miles on the ground today?

  • Imagine Raleigh
    04/06 12:15 AM

    Yes!!!  As citizens we have a right to complain about the Raleigh Greenway. Forty-five of those sixty miles were built a decade ago.

    They have three years left to build the promised 40 miles and the city has failed to start any sign of construction on the first mile. Many of those 40 miles were part of the orginal park bond and should have already been completed.

    A Fact, during the last park bond the city removed all public information, two weeks before the vote, concerning the closing of a certain section greenway. “Someone removed public information about the closing of a major section of Greenway so voters doing their research would not know about this certain section which cost a half million dollars to repair only two years after it had been completed.”

    Only two people have the power to do that and only one was elected to serve our city. It is funny how both of them stood up and promised us 40 new miles after the half million dollar repair had been completed in complete silence.

    You can settle for sixty miles but we should already be at 100 miles. In fact, we are redesigning sections of Greenway which have already been designed.

    That Sir, is a waste of Park and Rec money. Picking up after a pillow fight is only a penny in a big bucket compared to the waste which has been spent on the Greenway over the last five years…. No additional miles were completed during these five years.

    The Raleigh Greenway needs to be removed from the politics and power grabs so it can be returned back to the neighbor’s it serves.

    Same thing for Downtown Raleigh. The DRA does not own our parks, our streets, you own nothing so stop acting as though you own downtown and treating long time residents as visitors…. Cary, NC would be a much better place for you guys.

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