Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 21 July 2017

Croydon!

Saturday at Croydon Pride Fest was brilliant. The day started early for me with a visit to our Saffron Garden, a brilliant project focusing on Croydon's origins as centre of saffron production growing lots of crocuses, since it's the wrong time of year for crocuses we had 7 beds planted up in the colours of the rainbow flag, it looked brilliant and I was so happy that it truly was a community project with plants being donated in the colours.

Then it was meet and greet all the stall holders before a quick change and a walk through Croydon town center to lead the Parade.   Being at the front is rather strange, as we are the first thing people see, and in many cases the first time they realise that the event is even  happening. All in all I would say we had a very positive reception, and were shown a lot of love. It was hard to get an idea of how many people joined the march, but looking back I couldn't see the end! I estimate between 600 and 1,000.

The parade finished in Queens Gardens, right in the town center, opposite the Town Hall, as a committee we had taken the decision to
make the stage as professional as possible with a proper stage, back stage and PA, I think this paid off, making the whole event so much better.   I opened proceedings with a short(ish) speech welcoming everybody and pointing out that equality still hasn't been achieved, and although we were there to have fun and celebrate there are still battles to be fought, here and abroad.

After that I could relax a little and have some fun mingling with the crowd, talking to people, having my photo taken and presenting the prize of a pint of cider to one of our completion winners.

It was brilliant to see lots of rainbow flags and garlands, but maybe even better to see lots of Trans Flags, Bisexual banners and tee shirts, some non binary and the odd pansexual, I think we truly managed to be an inclusive event, and I want to make sure we carry on that way.

The only down side was that I could spend less time with friends and family who came to the event, but at least I did manage a quick photo with my friends Callum and Connor

As Chair I had a busy day with lots of duties (all of them pleasurable) meeting lots of people and having lots of conversation, so much so that it took a good few days before my voice had properly recovered.   All in all it was a great day, I'm already looking forward to next year's Pride Fest as I am sure that we can once again improve on this year, while still keeping it very centered on inclusivity and the Croydon community.

All photos by my friend Patricia Curtis, the official Croydon Pride photographer
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