For the past fourteen years Pagans in central Indiana have gathered on the fourth Saturday in September to celebrate Pagan Pride Day in Broad Ripple Park. For the previous thirteen of those years the Pagan Pride Day celebration in Indianapolis has gone off without a hitch. All that changed this past Saturday when local Pagan Pride Day organizers arrived at the park in the early morning to discover it already full people. Local coordinators of the event and vendors arrived to find a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) cross county track meet going on right in the middle of the field where they had, the night before, clearly staked out space for vendor and information booths.
The CYO group had set the starting line for their meet just about in the middle of the vendor row space which was marked out. Tom Jones, the local coordinator for Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day, said, “We had already been through the special use committee for Indy Parks, and been approved. We do this by the book legally every year.”
The apparent confusion came over when, it would seem, Indy Parks had also issued a permit for the CYO group to have there cross country meet, only their permit was for the soccer field area of the park and not the front main area of the park for which Indianapolis PPD had a legal permit. The organizers of Indianapolis Pagan Pride day and the CYO track meet were able to come together and find a solution to this dilemma in a fairly quick and peaceful manner.
Torcyr Storm Gull, who has been the security coordinator for Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day for the last nine years, commented, “Everything worked out beautifully. I had no issues with the organizers of CYO. There was I feel a lot of miscommunication between the parks and CYO. Honestly the only issue all morning was from a stereotypical soccer dad that threatened me with violence for conducting traffic safely so the children were NOT in danger. He seemed to settle down or at least grumble to himself after I pointed out if he wished I would let the park officers deal with his disruptive behavior. There were no vehicles driving across the grass. The problem is CYO believed they had free run of the whole park and tried to use it despite the fact that the 52 vendor locations were clearly staked out. I would like to thank CYO for being so understanding and helpful after things were explained to them. All of the uproar over this wonderful event is being caused by a few rowdy parents who have no clue as to what happened .”
“This was not about religion,” Tom Jones said, ”it was about space. We found a way for everyone to get what they needed. No one actually came up to me and said you can’t be here. I did however have people that were intentionally rude to me.”
It would indeed seem that most of the attendees for Indianapolis Pagan Pride day would not have had a clue what happened early in the morning if not for the local NBC affiliate WTHR arriving with a camera to do a story. Many of the long time attendees of Pagan Pride Day that I spoke with were excited to see the camera crew, and thought we were finally, as a community, going to get some recognition for the community’s charity work at Pagan Pride Day helping to fill the food bank at the Damien center and Indy Feral, a local cat trap-neuter-return program. Instead, word quickly spread among the attendees that they were here to get reaction to the “controversy” over use of the park with the CYO group.
Many in the local Indiana Pagan community feel that the media missed a golden opportunity to showcase our charitable work.
We at the Indiana Bureau of the PNC tried to contact Indiana CYO for comment on this story as well as the Indy Parks Department. We haven’t heard back from either of them. If we do we will update this story with there comments.
Here is link to the story that WTHR ran on its evening news cast Saturday. http://www.wthr.com/story/19614139/pagan-pride-festival-upsets