June 16th was Grand Rapids 23rd annual Pride Festival. It's the first one I've been to that actually got rained out. Who knew the park officials would close it down on account of rain?
Luckily, I got there before the storm hit and caught up with a dear friend of mine. We took time to wander around the booths (I'd already seen some before he caught up with me), said hello to my friend Teresa at G.I.F.T. (Gays in Faith Together), found The LGBTQ Network booth, and met a very nice lesbian couple who are also San Diego transplants. They very kindly shared their spray mister with me.
I regrettably did not take pictures and didn't realize that fact until I got home. I hope someone got pictures of the amazing Queens on display at this year's pride. One crafty Queen had taken a white silky raised rose fabric and, using only Sharpies, had transformed it into a beautiful rainbow of roses. She even used the Sharpies on her bling to make it match. The gorgeous redhead topped it off with a white straw hat, also adorned by lace roses colored by Sharpies. She was utterly divine!
We also ran into the first Miss Latina who flew up from Miami to attend, and had a nice chat with her about her, and her entourage's, ability to walk on stiletto heels in a park full of uneven ground and branches scattered about. Not once did I see any Queen turn her ankle as I would have so surely done. They all deserved to be wearing tiaras, they are that fierce!
I also took the opportunity to introduce a few folks to snippets from Mia Watts and Suzanne Graham's books that I had on my Kindle app on my phone. I'm hoping it results in a few sales for them.
Lots of puppies of all sizes abounded, Carol's Ferals was there as well and my friend and I donated the last few dollars needed to free the human "kitty" from the live trap. The kittens there were adorable and I hope they all found new homes. And I may have found a pet sitter for our two very large and protective dogs. Not only is she a really nice person, but she works closely with our groomers so I'm pretty sure the dogs will get along fine.
There was so much color and life there! I need more of these in town, they inspire my writing and I have tons in my head to get down yet today. The languages and accents in use were warm, bold and reminded me of home. Lots of lovely people meandered about, many marveling at how many straight allies were present. And three young women where running about in brightly colored hair and outfits giving out free hugs to anyone who needed one.
Then the wind started up and we all stopped to hear the announcer say if it started to rain we would have to shut down, just at the exact time the wind was gearing up. The wind was fierce and we watched the rain sheets approaching as the gorgeous Queens were escorted to the dry safety of a very large tent. Most of them were herded to the center of the tent were they could stay dry.
My friend and I continued to walk around, there was no point in trying to leave right then as everyone else was trying to get out. Besides, neither one of is sweet enough to melt in a little bit of rain.
We were already thoroughly wet when we happened upon a booth staffed by three women who were trying to pack, protect their belongs and hang on to the tent all at the same time. Another tent not far from them had already blown over onto people and was laying broken on the ground. I grabbed one of the tent legs, my friend the other, and we hung on as the wind buffeted around and the ladies began to hurriedly pack. Another attendee had been holding on to the covering trying to help keep their tables dry. The three of us hung on and the ladies got everything wrapped up in record time.
Turns out the tent was for a Pure Romance consultant. They thanked us more than once for stepping up to help. It really was no bother, we were already wet and by helping out we avoided the traffic rush to get out of the parking lot. But that wasn't enough for the consultant in charge, who gave each of us free product in exchange for the help. We would have done it anyway, this was just a bonus.
On the way out I spied another Queen I had seen coming in. A gorgeous carmel-color, she was wearing a purple leotard that had a rainbow of fringe stitched about. i could just picture her go-go dancing on stage and it made me smile.
We wrapped up our visit at Tim Hortons were we chatted until nearly 10! Even after all that time catching up with each other, my jeans and t-shirt were still very damp. But it was all worth it. Can't imagine having a better day than one where I get to catch up with a dear friend, see Drag Queens, enjoy a warm rain and end it all with a chocolate-covered donut.