Thirty minutes before opening time, still cold and wet, with everything taking longer than expected, a few of us joined up at the front gate to setup the welcome booth. For me, this is when the tide turned. There was already a line of eager attendees waiting, in the rain, chatting and laughing with each other, excited about the event. We deputized half of them into volunteers right on the spot, and a half hour later, everything was ready.
It rained off and on all day, but that didn't seem to slow people down very much. If anything, it brought attendees closer as they scurried from canopy to canopy amongst the 60 vendors and local groups that had setup in the rain that morning. The musicians played, the singers sang, the dancers danced, and the workshoppers workshopped, wet or not. Day one drew to a close and it looked like we had actually matched last year's first day attendance and donations, in spite of the cold and wet.
Day two began cold and dreary but, ye gods, without rain. And, as always on the second day, everyone was more relaxed. Even more people were waiting to get in than the day before, and we saw an increase in attendance and donations over last year's 2nd day. More music, more dancing, more workshops, and on this day, lots of drumming, too.
Our final numbers for 2011:
2100 total attendance
5700 pounds worth of food bank donations
22 pints of blood donated
The folks waiting outside in the rain for the beginning of the festival, the folks that cried when they found the free brochures to give to their employers and their kids' teachers, the folks that were laughing about the Cthuhlu cakes, faces covered in green and purple icing, the folks that thanked anyone who would listen for having this festival, those are the folks we'll remember when we're tired, when we're asking ourselves why we do this.
Have some ideas or suggestions or comments about the festival? Want to start getting more involved? Show up at our final meeting at Gaia's Gardens on Sunday October 9th, 2011 at 2pm. Can't make the meeting? Contact us over the web and we'll read your messages at the meeting.
855 West Morgan St
Contact form: http://2011.cncppd.org/contact-us
Blessed Be and a bag of chips,
Central NC Pagan Pride Days