Last Saturday, ED, the Vancouver Pagan Pride Day coordinator, and her team* put together an amazing community-building and fundraising event. After the financial blow of losing tents to a wind storm at 2015’s main event and the spiritual cost of having to close the event so early and so abruptly, we needed some cash and to get the community rallied again.
For the fundraiser, we had a lovely indoor venue at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. They were having a workshop in another room in the same building as the space we were renting, so for the first couple of hours, I got to play a private game of “Pagan or Unitarian?” whenever anyone walked in the door; I got about 80% right.
It wasn’t a huge space, but we packed a lot into it. There was a front table of information, including the no-photo bands, which is a brilliant idea for a public event; two aisles of wonderful vendors with Pagan-related goods (I bought a cool necklace and a book stand); a concession stand, an activity table, a ritual/workshop/performance area (where I got to put on my community ritual and a second presentation of my ritual writing workshop from last year’s Pagan Pride Day), and two packed tables of prizes for the silent auction and raffles.
We had amazing sponsors. ED had solicited a wide variety of business and private donations and there was truly something for everyone on those tables. I made out very well: a bottle of mead and the “It Survived 2015” basket from the silent auction and some gift certificates from the raffle.
As mentioned, the space was small, so we could only have one ritual/workshop/performance on at a time, which is a much reduced schedule from all the performances, workshops, and rituals we will have at the full Pagan Pride Day. Still, there was a variety of things on the schedule including some live music.
My small part of this event was recruiting and coordinating the volunteers that we needed to help set-up and clean-up, to watch over the auction and raffles, to sell at the concession stand, and to welcome people at the front table. I had a truly amazing team of volunteers: some long time friends of mine and some people who were new to the community. And that was the most amazing thing about the fundraiser: we were surrounded all day by evidence that Pagans will pull together to create community. Sometimes, reading the ferocious online debates and hearing the local gossip, it can be easy to think that “Pagan community” is an oxymoron, but the cash in donation jars, the overflowing table of donations, and all the people who offered their time, energy, and talents to make the event a success gave me faith.
There was also a special announcement made at the event: the Vancouver Pagan Pride non-profit society will be putting on public Sabbats as additional fundraisers and community-building events. Here is our wheel of the year for the rest of 2016:
Beltane: April 29th
Litha: June 17th
Lammas: July 22nd
Vancouver Pagan Pride Day: September 10th
Mabon: September 16th
Samhain: October 28th
Yule: December 16th
The Vancouver Pagan Pride team has been doing amazing work for our community. Please listen to the radio show ED and Wendy were on, read the newspaper article ED and Julie interviewed for, like their Facebook page, and come out to celebrate Beltane with us.
* of which I am proudly a member