This last weekend in Salt Lake City was the Pride Festival. I had been wanting to volunteer at an event or festival this year, when summer came around and I was ready to do it, the Pride Festival was the next one on the schedule. And they needed volunteers. So I filled out the application, got in contact with the coordinator, and was assigned a shift to work.
I was supposed to work Sunday afternoon from 4:30 to 7:30. I checked in at the volunteer tent at 4, they got me in touch with the fork lift operator I would be assisting, and we waited for our work to start. And we kept waiting. And waiting. We waited until 6:30. You see, our part of the work was supporting the take down efforts of the group, which doesn't happen until the festival is over… at 7:00.
Since I didn't have anywhere else to be I let him know I was there to work as long as there was work for me to do. So after the festival ended, the grounds were cleared, we finally got to work. And we worked. And worked. We moved pallets and metal racks around the festival grounds for the volunteers to stack the tables and chairs on. We consolidated the half full pallets to make room for more tables and chairs. We moved dumpsters. We stacked and unstacked pallets. We emptied ice coolers. We worked and worked.
About 11pm I realized I was not hearing the trains anymore. Which was a problem since I had taken trax downtown so I wouldn't have to fight parking. And now the trains weren't running. I was kinda stuck downtown with no vehicle to get home. I was able to call a friend who came to get me in the middle of the night. Life saver.
I worked until about 12:15 when my ride home arrived to save me. After rolling into my apartment just before 1 am, I slept like a log. For about 4 1/2 hours until I had to be up to go to work. The next few days have proved to be long and trying. But I'm making it.
While the experience turned out to be a bit different than I expected, I'm so glad I did it. I worked alongside some people I would not have other wise met. They had a quirky sense of humor, they worked hard, and they had fun while they did it. My kind of people.
I found the Pride Festival to be quite the party. It was loud, fun, and a celebration of individuality and acceptance. And while I don't share their lifestyle choices, I felt accepted and appreciated for who I am, why I was there, and celebrated for my differences. Next year I may not attend the Pride Festival, either as a patron or a volunteer, but I'm certainly glad I went this year.
This year was more attended than last year, over 25,000 people came through during the 2 day festival.