Pagan Pride Day
was a bright, sunny, but cool
and windy day in September. Those
on the Front Range Pagan Pride Committee, had been working towards this
a year. You may
have heard that
organizing Pagans is like herding cats.
This event was no exception.
of all the people on the
committee who had worked for the entire year to put this event on, I
remember two of us actually being at Pagan Pride Day.
Kantis, who was asked to be the
co-coordinator, and owns the Witches Brew, a local Pagan coffee shop,
were the only two actual committee members to attend.
the Coordinator, who had
been tasked with organizing the event by the National group, was not
there. This didn’t
really surprise me,
since I had been attending the organizing meetings at the Brew for a
hadn’t met her.
not to attend because of the location.
Pride Day in Colorado has a
checkered past. When
it was originally
started here, the person who had volunteered to do it, decided to put
somewhere up in the mountains. Few
because, well, no one knew where it was.
That’s a hell of a way to run a pride event.
Pride was run that way for
a few years until someone else took it over.
At some point, it was decided to hold the
event down in Denver, where
people were much more likely to attend.
A city park, called Cheeseman, was chosen as
Park is an interesting
place as it was originally a city cemetery, and it’s well known that
the bodies were moved when it was made into a park.
The park is centrally located in Denver, and
one of the most visible points is the Greek colonnade at its center.
Pride has been held off to
the side of the park, and always gathers attention from the public.
year was a bit
of a banking error,
we weren’t able to put the payment on the park for the day, so another
to be found. Daniels
Park, where we
ended up, is open space in Jefferson County, at the base of the
the Rocky Mountains.
was actually a very good
choice since open space is natural wilderness set aside by the county
not be developed. Unlike
city parks, the only changes made to the area are a stone shelter with
hearth, a couple of barbeque grills and open air bathrooms. There’s even a herd of
(Buffalo) that live on the land.
spot we chose was at the
stone shelter on top of the hill.
view of the mountains to the west was spectacular!
The limestone cliffs on the west side of the
hill lead down to a beautifully manicured golf course.
Small boulders had been placed to frame the
area at the hilltop. These
been eroded to a large extent, and one of them had a circular
forming a natural cauldron.
only real problem with the
entire location was the wind. It
stopped. It started
the day cold and
biting, then warmed with the sun, and cooled again as the sun set. Did I mention that a
couple of weeks earlier,
four tornados had gone through the area?
of us who were helping to
set up, had started the day at the
Witches Brew, where we loaded trucks.
We then drove down south
of town to the
park. Kantis rode
with me, and was
managing to keep her nerves under control until we hit the construction
none of us had been aware of, on the road to the park.
The directions to the park that we had sent
to everyone wouldn’t work.
I was, driving to a place
I’d never been, and I had no idea where to go.
I understood how everyone else would feel, so
the first order of
business once we arrived was to get signage up to help people find the
spot. A volunteer
and I headed out with thin
signboard and duct tape to put up signs all the way back to where the
that was done, we got back
to find a small tent city erected for the various regional Pagan
that had come to let the community know who they are.
One of the big aspects of Pagan Pride Day is
that it is a place for those looking for a local community to find it.
Colorado Covenant of The
River was there with three people.
People in Denver had complained about the
drive to the location, but
these three drove down from Fort Collins, a much longer drive than
Colorado Pagan Mammas showed up
It Up. The cookbook
with Pagan inspired recipes
for all occasions was being sold in hardcopy, CD, and EBook form.
Pagans also made a
showing. This is a
group of Witches who,
as the name implies, live up in the mountains of Colorado. Most of the members of the
group live in
small towns along highway 285, on the way to where Dragonfest is held.
Highlands Ranch Pagans were
in charge of the ritual. Highlands
is a more affluent area on the south side of Denver.
Among other things, they are working on
creating a Pagan Events Center where any Pagan organization can hold
had a surprisingly large crowd
show up. Between
the change of venue,
the distance to drive, and the construction, I was worried there might
conspiracy to keep people away. I
honestly thought we might only have five
or ten people show up. I
needn’t have worried. Throughout
the day, there
were consistently a
couple of hundred people at any given time.
some of the committee had thought
it was too far to drive, the Pagan Community certainly didn’t. We had at least as many
people this year, as
we did the year before. They
showing up shortly after 10AM, and continued to come and go throughout
day. Some had come
to Pagan Pride for
the first time, others have been going for years.
came from all directions,
and quite a distance, to spend the day together.
They brought their kids, and their
parents. The wind
never died, but the
sun warmed up. A
mother flew a kite with
her kids. Others
scrambled around on the
rock cliffs, as kids will do. One
man, the son of my friend Dawn, spotted a waterfall off in the
the golf course.
hadn’t occurred to me that I
might need a telephoto lens, so I didn’t take it.
Unfortunately, there was a tree right in the
way, and I never was able to get a good shot of the waterfall. Next year I’ll know. Of course, next year I
might have access to a
played all around. There
was a special Kids Fest tent set up for
the younger kids, but most were too busy playing, though they did use
it to get
out of the wind. The
adults enjoyed the
day too. Some hiked
with their kids
along the cliffs, others gathered in conversation knots.
had volunteered to work the
first shift at the grill, so I put a bag of charcoal in the grill. It’s not easy to light a
fire with a steady
wind of at least 10 miles per hour blowing.
Fortunately, we had lots of starter fluid. I’m not ashamed to say I
used it liberally.
After all, I got the fire going, and that was the whole point.
the charcoal was hot, I took
the first shift at the grill, cooking hotdogs.
I put one package of hotdogs on the grill,
then a few minutes later,
the hot spots and the
staggered application of meat-like product, I was taking a hotdog off
every few seconds. We
had a couple of
tin pans set up to hold the cooked hotdogs, and keep them warm if no
to eat just then. When
I started, I had
people coming up asking how long until they could get a hotdog. By the time I gave up my
tongs, I had a large
surplus of hotdogs ready.
had made more of his famous
Death By Chocolate Cakes. These
same cakes he’d made for the Save the Brew Day.
These were 5 or 6 inches in diameter, and at
least two layers. Chocolate
cake smothered in chocolate
frosting, and a chocolate mousse filling between the layers. He had baked them to sell
to make money for
$5 each, they were more than
worth it! I say
this as a chocoholic,
these things are magnificent. I
never had anything quite so decadent, not even at the Chocolate Frenzy
bought mine as soon as I
could, and stashed it away in my truck for later, for private
consumption. I told
you, these things are fantastic.
were chips, and dips, and
salads, and all manner of condiments available.
It was a picnic, and everything was available
for a small donation. We
went through 50 or 75 hotdogs easily, and everyone seemed to enjoy
after we had all stuffed
ourselves, the Highlands Ranch Pagans gathered to organize the ritual. I had to do a little
talking, to convince
them to move the ritual to a more scenic spot for pictures.
Fortunately, it didn’t
weren’t sure the space
was big enough, and were worried about it being hilly.
Once I showed them what I had in mind, they
were quite willing to move. Besides,
wants the bathrooms in the background for pictures?
had brought a card table for
their altar, and laden it with food.
Breads, melons, crackers, the table literally
strained with the weight
of it all. I had
never seen so much food
in ritual before. In
keeping with the
season, this was a harvest ritual, and boy what a harvest!
ritual lasted about 45
minutes, with thanks given, and food shared.
There were probably a hundred people taking
part, and they had organized
it so that the food was started in each of the four Quarters. It didn’t take long for
people to get both
food and drink. A
couple of drummers played
throughout the ritual, giving a heartbeat, and rhythm to the ritual.
ritual was full of joy and
from babies to elders
took part in the sharing of food and community.
The sun had slanted noticeably to the west by
now, and we had been there
all day. As the
ritual ended, people
started to make their way back to their cars.
5PM local time, those few of
us that were left, all gathered in the stone shelter.
Someone had brought a laptop with a cell
connection, and we took part in the world wide ritual for peace. We gathered around one of
the tables, and
held hands as the computer relayed the voice of the meditation.
the last word had finished,
and the meditation ended, we packed everything up, and headed back to
to unload. It was a
long day, but a lot
of fun. I met new
people, and ran into
old friends I hadn’t expected to see.
Even with all that had been thrown against us,
we made it work, and I think
this will be one of those events that is talked about for years to come.
Pride Day happens in just
about every large city across the country.
You can find the closest one to you at the
or you can sign up to start your own.
can tell you that as hard as it is to get everything to work, it’s also
extremely satisfying to be a part of watching your hard work come to
from Pagan Pride
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