Savannah, GA, October 9- “Thank you, Madame Bonaventure, for all of your support.” I was intrigued by the message which appeared on the inside front cover of the program for the 8th Annual Savannah Pagan Pride Day. Who was Madame Bonaventure? A wealthy secret benefactor? A helpful spirit? The usual sights and sounds of Pagan Pride swirled under the moss-hung oaks of Emmet Park: giggling children, whimsical clothing, workshops, belly dancers, bemused tourists.
Savannah’s relatively small size isn’t reflected in attendance or the liveliness of the event, both of which might do a larger city proud; the headcount from 2009 was five hundred, comparable to Atlanta’s six hundred from the same year. I asked what makes their Pagan Pride different. “Well…we are the most haunted city in America!” responded Adriana Iris, one of two Local Coordinators. “Aside from the educational aspect of Pagan Pride, we like to encourage everyone to come visit our beautiful city. People come from far away, and they come back every year. We take pride in showing Savannah off. This city is fun.”
A wide variety of groups were represented at the event, including Georgia Heathen Fellowship, Earth Healers Temple, Church of the Circle of the Oaks, and the Covenant of WISE. L. Belladonna praised Adriana’s ability to bring people together, and added, “I love sitting in the park all day with a bunch of Pagans.”
“No one group organizes Pagan Pride,” said Juli Routon, the other Local Coordinator. “Everybody pitches in. We hold fundraisers throughout the year, and receive support from local businesses as well as individuals.” And Madame Bonaventure? “She’s one of our sponsors. She leads tours in Bonaventure Cemetery, so that’s what people call her.”
Savannah PPD will be kicking off their fundraising for next year with a Masquerade Ball, October 30, 2010 at the Wormhole on Bull Street. Raffles, DJ, bellydancing shows, and Tarot, $5 cover.
Photos by Mountain Hermit