The forecast wasn’t promising, but it is Vancouver, and you never know what’s going to happen.
I joked with the lady at the coffee shop that I need a drink that’s going to keep me warm and dry all day. By 7:30 in the morning, I’m parked near the park enjoying my latte while the rain pings on my roof. During set-up, sometimes it pours, sometimes it drizzles, but it gradually gets better and better. By 10 am, when the opening ritual is on, there’s a thinning of the clouds that may even indicate sun, and the small crowd feels optimistic.
The wind started picking up soon after though, and keeping vendor and event tents on the ground started to become a challenge. It wasn’t too bad in the workshop tent tucked near the trees, so I didn’t notice how bad it was getting during my “Introduction to Ritual Writing” workshop, but when I went out into the open to attend the Goddess Sung Devotional ritual, I felt the wild wind. We were holding the ritual tent down and had just started the quarter song when we heard a huge crack.
Trees around the edge of our field started cracking and huge branches were falling. Most of a tree fell on a vendors tent. The organizer made the call and announced that we were cancelling the rest of the event and evacuating the park.
If the goal of Pagan Pride is to bring the community together, few things could have been this effective. People sprang into action and started helping getting tents down, vendors packed up, and everything carried over to the parking lot and loaded into the VPPD’s rented truck and individual cars. I saw this girl who must have been only 8 years old hauling a box of snacks almost as big as she was back to the truck!
This is a tough financial blow for a non-profit organization with few funds, as well as very stressful and sad for organizers who worked so hard to prepare for this annual event. Fundraiser events are being planned, donations are also welcome and much needed, and we all want to support the merchants who lost products and tents.
But, hey, no one was hurt, everyone pulled together, and we made the news. And none of us who were there will ever forget that we survived Vancouver Pagan Pride Day 2015.