Hampton Roads PrideFest 2022—Celebrating Diversity of Community!

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A good time
was had by all
as the three Hampton Roads

Unitarian Universalist Congregations
celebrated at the
Hampton Roads Pride
on the Elizabeth River
at Town Point Park
in Norfolk, Virginia,
June 25, 2022!

Hampton Roads PrideFest is a public celebration providing Virginians with the opportunity to unify through the celebration of inclusion and equality. Drawing some 40,0000 LGBTQ Community members and allies to Town Point Park in Norfolk, Virginia, PrideFest is one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic and one of the largest festivals in Hampton Roads.

Due to the pandemic, this was the first PrideFest event since 2019! The tents of vendors, businesses and community groups filled the park. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula (UUFP) had a mini-cluster with the Williamsburg UUs and Coastal Virginia UUs hosting and greeting event-goers at our tent. UUFP is most grateful for the dedicated contingent it had of two people for each two-hour shift, with Pam Luke and Hilary Propst serving the entire day. Hilary gives credit to Kevin St. George of Coastal UU who took care of the paperwork and phone calling needed. She also thanks David Walsh for his creative flyers, which he posted to Facebook. In addition, Joanne Dingus organized our youth to make a poster representing all three congregations, which we hung at our booth.

Folks were festive; people came in all colors and styles of dress. There was a steady stream of attendees visiting our tent and surrounding activities. Businesses were touting their "We're Hiring" attitude. Three stages provided various speeches and entertainment throughout. Signs of concern about the recent Supreme Court decision and its future implications were observed. The weather was beautiful, and the Norfolk Police Department was visible, helping to ensure the smooth operation of the event.

“Glitter Blessings” were offered to dozens of passersby who received dots of eco-friendly glitter on their faces as the providers recited:

“You are made of stardust, born of the infinite love of the universe. You are whole, holy and good, and we are so grateful you are sharing your light with us in this world."

Reactions of recipients ranged from tears of joy to introspection to gratitude. Rachel, one of those offering the blessings, said this activity filled her soul; she even got to give a glitter blessing to a man costumed as Jesus carrying a rainbow colored “ALLY” sign! Thank you so much to Joanne Dingus for this kind and community-building way to let people know something about what it means to be a UU!

All and all, PrideFest was a wonderful experience in so many ways. What a meaningful hands-on opportunity for our Fellowship, as a "Welcoming Congregation," to work together with others in our community in support of inclusion, dignity and equality of ALL PEOPLE!

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