Pagan Pride Day in Salt Lake City a Time to Celebrate -- and Educate

September 15, 2006

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

On September 15, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "As much as Salt Lake's Pagan Pride Day is about celebrating the harvest and honoring pagan identity, it is more about educating the broader community, festival organizers say. It's about dispelling stereotypes, promoting understanding and just having a good time. 'There are no funny things going on,' says Lisa Gift, the local coordinator, who emphasizes the event is open to pagans and nonpagans alike. The event is 'very simple and very nonscary.' Today's free festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Murray Park at 495 E. 5300 South, is the fifth of its kind in Utah. The first year drew some 75 participants, but by last year, Gift says, there were more than 500 people in attendance. This year, she expects the numbers to climb even more. 'It's become more mainstream,' she says. 'We have people who are LDS who consider themselves witches. . . . There's not this great social divide as much anymore.' Between Aug. 13 and Oct. 22, similar pride days are taking place across the country and in Europe. Today's events in Utah include several ceremonies, information about pagan spirituality, arts and crafts for kids, vendors, dance troupes - including belly dancers - and workshops. Among the numerous free workshops: 'Drumming for the Rhythmically Challenged,' a class on making 'honey wine' and introductions to shamanism, astrology and Wicca."