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    Posted October 9, 2013 by
    Thomasville, North Carolina

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    Piedmont Pagan Pride Day (NC)

    The cool clear morning of September 28th, 2013 led into a wonderful fall day and evening as the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day in Belmont, North Carolina celebrated the Autumn Equinox. Approximately 1000 pagans and curious locals joined together at Stowe Park for a day of entertainment, education, celebration, and shopping! The Piedmont Pagan Pride Day is a one day event held each year around the time of the Autumn Equinox. The purpose of the event is to bring together the local pagan community and to also help develop an understanding of beliefs and to eliminate prejudice and religious discrimination.

    This year was the first year the event was held at Stowe Park in Belmont. The turn out was amazing, not only from the pagan community, but also from the local community of Belmont and surrounding areas. Compared to previous years, this year provided the most diversity. Many people who are not involved in the pagan community and who have no knowledge of what it is about came to Piedmont Pagan Pride Day and visited with the vendors, attended a few workshops, and observed during the two rituals of the day. There were many positive open conversations which helped dispel common misconceptions about pagan beliefs.

    As with a few past Piedmont Pagan Pride Day events, there were a small group of protestors singing hymns, reciting scripture, and handing out pamphlets. This, however did not put a damper on the positive atmosphere of the day. In all actuality, it drew a larger crowd of locals who wanted to come and see what the event was all about, making the day even more of a success!

    Piedmont Pagan Pride Day also accepted donations and raised awareness for three local charities. The Second Harvest Food Bank collected 596 pounds of non perishable foods during the one day event. A mobile donation center for the Community Blood Center Of The Carolinas accepted donations from 10am to 12pm and received 11 pints of blood during that time. The final charity was the sugar drive for Panoleptos Apiary. They received just over 53 pounds of sugary donations that will be used to help save the wild honey bees.

    Two celebration rituals took place during the day. The opening ritual was held by Panoleptos and was followed by The Race To Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest. There were three separate races, the first was the children's race, followed by the teen race, and ending with the adult's race. Each group would line up at the starting line then race to the other side of the field to a basket of grain. There they would grab a hand full of grain and race back to the starting line. The second ritual took place that evening to honor the Harvest or Autumn Equinox and was followed with a drum circle to end the evening.

    Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi made their first North Carolina appearance at the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day as the events keynote speakers. Raven Grimassi is the author of over 17 Wicca and Witchcraft books and Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi is co-author to two oracle decks and companion books. Both were a pleasure to have at the event, they helped shine a positive light on paganism, Wicca, and witchcraft.

    Throughout the day there were a variety of workshops, entertainment, and shopping to keep everyone busy. Thirty-five different vendors set up selling a large variety of merchandise and hand crafted items. An additional five booths were set up to inform and educate visitors of local groups and organizations. A kids zone was set up next to the play ground and offered a variety of games, drumming, blowing bubbles, stories, and activities including making fairy doors, dream catches, clay figurines, nesting bags, and witches ladder bracelets. Free workshops and lectures were offered to the adults as well. These included topics such as composting, meditation, sacred herbs as medicine, magical kitchen, and an interfaith panel.

    This years Piedmont Pagan Pride Day was a huge success, one of the best, if not the best year yet! The date and location has not been confirmed for Piedmont Pagan Pride Day 2014, however everyone has high hopes of coming back to Stowe Park in Belmont, North Carolina. As information is made available it will be posted on the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day website at www.piedmontpaganpride.com.

    This article was written by Felicia at Any Witch Way. Many thanks to her.
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