We would like to thank everyone that helped us make Vancouver Pagan Pride a successful event for 2012. Last year we kept accurate counts during the day and this year we did the same, so we were able to get an precise comparison between attendance this year and last. Here are the figures:
Many people that were in attendance in the morning were not there in the afternoon, having been replaced with a fresh contingent of attendees. Based on this, my estimate of the actual attendance: ~350. So we’ve certainly increased the attendance from last year. Many of these people were elders in the community that certainly had not been there last year.
This is the second year that government officials had been invited to this event. MLA Bruce Ralston attended as he did last year. Mayor Diane Watts would have, but was out of town at a meeting, so she sent a message to be read at the gathering, as did the Lieutenant Governor of BC. Ralston told me that he was pleased to see our community growing. Last year we had no response from the Prime Minister’s office. This year we did.
A major change from last year was that we sent out press releases to every media outlet that we could and got no response at all. This year we had three papers run articles on Pagan Pride, making the front page of the Surrey Now paper: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/index.html. We got a photo of our members on the front page of the Burnaby Now paper and an article with photos on the community page: http://www.burnabynow.com/community/index.html. On the day of the event we had two newspaper photographers attend and spend hours photographing attendees and interviewing me, so there are more articles to come. One was from the Surrey Leader, who posted this notice before our event: http://www.surreyleader.com/lifestyles/164294456.html
Positive feedback came in to us all day long and was already showing up on the VPPD Facebook page that evening. Since then we’ve continued to receive a lot of positive feedback and we appreciate it. Many people were asking: “Will you be running next year’s VPPD?” Yes, we will. Some others asked if they could become involved in running next year’s event, even though they are not members of our Order. Volunteers are certainly welcomed, and we’ve asked them to contact us to get involved.
This was the second year that VPPD had proper security and first aid (with equipment and radios). There were no significant events to report: A couple of young children (from families in the adjacent playground and unrelated to any attending Pagans) were caught shoplifting from merchants but the merchandise was recovered. This was the second year that we had individuals in charge of each of the responsibilities for running the event. Our coordinator for entertainment and rituals had excellent rituals from opening to closing and some outstanding entertainment all day. Out coordinator of merchants did an outstanding job. The number of merchants increased from last year: 33 this year, up 16 from last year. This included 7 healers who set up a separate healing site. This brought in $495.00 in merchant’s fees.
The 50/50 draw was a bit disappointing. With larger numbers of people in attendance I would like to have seen an increase from the amount we made last year ($214.50), but we actually made less ($91.50). We offered cold drinks and snacks by donation to assist financially challenged families and took in $44.25. I had feedback from many of the vendors indicating they had lots of people looking but not so many purchasing. I take this as an indication of the tough financial times that many people are enduring. This means we certainly did a little better than breaking even on costs, and the Order is content with that, but next year I want to go after more corporate sponsors. We had Starbucks donate coffee for our gathering this year, but I’m hoping that we can get other donations and support next year.
I was very happy to see that people took our advice after last year and made themselves more visible with clearly identifiable booths and clothing. It certainly made it better for the press, who as I said were there taking lots of pictures.
Lady Sorayah, our entertainment coordinator, posted some good photos of the event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152034351675300.901117.616480299&type=1
In Her Service, Kerr Cuhulain
Preceptor General, Order of Scathách
Chairperson for Vancouver Pagan Pride