For the second year my church participated in the Capital Pride parade, and this year ended up being a parade to remember.
I have been the one to help coordinate our involvement with the parade, so I went to some of the parade meetings, and I was the one who got information to our members. We had about 20 folks show up from St. Georges to participate in the parade, so it was a good turn-out on our end. Along with that, we had three other Episcopal churches participate with us, and the Bishop of Washington DC as well. It's nice when your church leadership has an open mind :-)
So I went to Dupont Circle to wait for some of the members to arrive via Metro, which as I would learn was a total clusterfuck on Saturday due to track problems (again!). One person did call and cancel because of how bad it was.
I'm sitting there and I eventually get a phone call, it turns out our group managed to all meet on the same train, but they went up the wrong end of the Dupont Circle station, so they found their way to St. Thomas already. I went over and met them and grabbed some food while talking with other folks from around DC. Eventually we went inside due to impending rain, and to also help make a banner for St. Georges, since our usual one had been destroyed during a thunderstorm the week before. We got the banner made, and I had my sign made as well. At the 2005 Capital Pride Parade I saw a UCC minister who carried a sign that said "Don't believe the lie, God does love you." That is something that has always stuck with me, so I have carried a sign saying that for the last two years, and it is one that is always a hit with the audience. There were a number of folks who took pictures with their cameras of it, including media folks, so perhaps it will hit the Blade or the Metro Weekly next week.
Anyway, so I headed over to the parade site with our vehicle drivers so that we could get lined up. As we got there, it turned out that one of the larger floats screwed up and went up the wrong street, so they were now blocking the entire street and no one could get through. So I stepped out to go check us in, and then get people to move out of the way (thank you Capital Pride credentials) so that the truck could pass through and then everyone else could line up. We got lined up, decorated the truck, and then waited for the parade to start. While we were waiting, the clouds started to build up again.
Right as our group was beginning to walk, they opened up. For the first time in about 10 years or so, the Capital Pride Parade was getting rained on.
We didn't care, we kept walking anyway, either with raincoats on, or under umbrellas. I walked along carrying the sign, taking some pictures, throwing a goodie or two, and spraying silly string. I saw JH briefly as he was patrolling the parade as well, and he came up and said hi to us, he seems to have freaked out Connie a bit, I don't think she had recognized him at first.
I did almost get run over at one point, a media person stopped and was recording our banner and my sign when the truck behind me bumped into me. It wasn't hard enough to make me fall, but I did bend backwards a bit, luckily there was no damage.
Despite the rain, it was still a fun experience. JH tells me about how much he enjoys going up onto the stage at the end of the festival to be thanked by all of the audience, and it's worth it to see the number of people out there. Well I love to be in the parade because I get to see all of these supportive folks out there watching and cheering us on. It's totally worth seeing.
I definitely want to be in the parade again next year, and I know St. Georges is planning on it.