Pagan Pride Day
For about a decade, local pagans have hosted their own yearly event to celebrate their religion as well as raise awareness in the non-pagan community. For this year’s event, Pagan Pride Day has gone as mainstream as any downtown Reno soirée you can think of. It takes place on July 20 both inside and outside the McKinley Arts and Cultural Center.
This is the first year that Dane Miller and her non-profit group, Sabbat Celebrations, have organized Pagan Pride Day. As president of Sabbat Celebrations and an art teacher with the group, Miller said that in the past it was mainly for the core pagan groups in town.
“It was mostly run by those who weren’t afraid to speak out, but this is the first year that it feels like an event for everyone,” Miller said. “We wanted to gear it toward education and let the public know what paganism is and who we are, and to bring more pagans out to let them know it’s OK, and we will not be vilified.”
With a religion that is based in nature, Miller said that paganism is as broad a tent as Christianity is, with different groups such as wiccans, heathens, druids and many other denominations.
Miller said there’s a lot that’s new with the event this year. It’s sponsored by Artown for the first time, and as such will feature an expanded “artists’ alley.” It will also feature fine art, as well as those who work in jewelry and sculpture.
“Most of the artists we have are new to the event,” Miller said. “Not all of it is pagan-based art, although there will be some there who are involved in it.”
There will also be music from local bands and a series of performances related to paganism. “There will be two plays from one of the Greek temples in Reno based on mythological stories, and one of them is set to the music of Tenacious D,” Miller said with a little chuckle. “That’s the one I really wanted them to do.”
In between those performances, there will be 30-to-45 minute discussions from local pagan experts on different aspects of the faith, with a Q&A session as part of those presentations.
“They may talk about what paganism is, what a pantheon is, what is animism,” Miller explained. “People can ask any question that they’ve been wanting to know. One we get a lot is, ’Well, do you worship Satan?’ and, no, we don’t believe in Satan. That’s a Christian construction, not a pagan one.”
Miller also said she told the presenters that “if you don’t know the answer to a question, then any of the other pagans around will be able to find it.”
There’s also a “kid’s corner” that will feature face-painting and mythology-related art projects for children. “It’s just a place for parents to keep their kids busy for 10 minutes, and so they can run around,” Miller said. “It will be a little more wide open than some of the other areas so people can keep an eye on their kids, and so they’ll have little things to do and explore.”
Admission to Pagan Pride Day is free, and the event will also feature food trucks, vendors from local metaphysical businesses and a beer garden.
“We just want people to come out and have fun, learn some stuff and support some local businesses and artists,” Miller said. “But the learning, really, that’s the number one thing—to learn something in a really fun environment.”