Pagan Pride: Suncoast
Article ID: 8728
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,923
Times Read: 4,187
Posted: September 24th. 2004
Times Viewed: 4,187
Sponsored by: Suncoast Pagan Pride
Location: Pinellas Park, Florida
Event Date(s): September 2004
The Suncoast Pagan Pride event for 2004 took on the daunting task of representing both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. However, due to all the inclement weather that the Suncoast area has experienced recently, some of the staff members were beginning to have their doubts that they would be able to hold their event this year at all. As one large storm after another marched through the state the members began to despair that grounds would ever become dry again. Fortunately, this year's Suncoast Pagan Pride Day was able to take place under bright sunny Florida skies on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at the England Brother's Bandshell in Pinellas Park, Florida. This marked the second year the event has been held at this location and the fourth yearly Pagan Pride celebration for those in the surrounding Suncoast Area.
For the event staff, the day started extremely early in the morning as tents went up and preparations were made to accommodate the anticipated public that was soon to arrive. By 10 AM, the Suncoast Pagan Pride committee members, the sponsoring groups, workshop presenters, and participating vendors were in place, ready to share information and to show their community spirit. Also in place were the members of the Safety Team and their dedicated parking staff without whose assistance this event would not have been possible. Thanks to everyone that worked in these positions to ensure the safety and well-being of all attending, for a job well done.
Although the day started slowly with few of the interested public in evidence, as the Sun climbed higher into the sky, word seemed to have gotten around and the public started to appear, eager to find out information about the Pagan way of life. Waiting to accommodate their search were booths with smiling faces ready to answer their questions. Informational booths at this year's event ranged from those representing local Groves, Churches and Covens to booths presenting voter registration materials, literature on wildlife conservation and responsible pet ownership. Throughout the day presenters gave lectures and held discussions on a wide range of topics. Every hour there was something new going on.
The first presenters for the day were the Friends of Boyd Hill and their Birds of Prey avian charges. The Friends of Boyd Hill are a volunteer organization created to care for birds of prey that, due to injury, cannot care for themselves in the wild. Their presentation took place in the shade of a large oak tree and the children's realm attendants all had front row seats as handlers showed the birds in their care and provided information about their habitat and behavior. At the end of the presentation the handlers stayed to answer any questions that anyone might have regarding these remarkable animals.
Following the Birds of Prey exhibition were hourly informational workshops and discussions. Topics and presenters this year included Medea, with a discussion of altars and their uses; Tarotlaydee with a discussion of the tarot and its use in divination; Balinnor held an impromptu discussion on the purpose behind each part of a ritual as it relates to Pagan worship; Chief Two Snakes and Silverfox presented a discussion of Native American beliefs and practices, and Liz from the Tampa Regional Eclectic Church held a discussion on The Voice of the Next Generation of Paganism and its evolving role in society. Later in the afternoon the Shining Wheel Pagan Chorus entertained the crowd with a selection of their songs showcasing their vocal and musical talents.
The final workshop of the day was a ritual presentation performed by the staff of Suncoast Pagan Pride. The ritual was an interpretation of what may have transpired at the first harvest and was written by Rob "Oak" Brown, who also fulfilled the role of High Priest for the working. Joining Oak were Bluwolf, as High Priestess; Graystar as her attendant; Balinnor, Justin, Medea and Angelica as Quarter callers, and Chris, who played the part of a Peasant that experiences firsthand the sacrifice of the God and the blessings of the Harvest that it wrought. Special thanks are due to Green Song Grove for the use of their sound system and to all the ritual participants for providing an inspiring crowning for the day's events.
The Suncoast Pagan Pride Committee would also liked to thank all the wonderful people that came to this year's event. Despite the event having been postponed, the day was well attended with over 200 people passing through the gates. Their generosity helped to collect over two hundred and fifty pounds of non-perishable food items for this year's charity, the Hospice Aids Awareness Network. All of the attendees' donations are greatly appreciated and will go far towards helping those less fortunate during the harvest season. In addition to the collected food, the Suncoast Pagan Pride event was able to raise approximately $100 after covering the day's expenses. These funds will help with organizing next year's event for which plans are already in the works. The Suncoast Pagan Pride Committee is looking forward to the ritual for next year, which will be presented by Hearth Fire Coven.
May the Blessings of the Harvest be yours,
Now and throughout the year to come.
Suncoast Pagan Pride Scribe
Location: Largo, Florida
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