© 2008 Karen Van Fossan
OK, I confess. I wasn't anticipating Fargo Pride with the full force of enthusiasm that's kind of my trademark. For one, I've attended a lllllllllllllllllot of Pride-type Events in my lifetime. To name a few...
Madison, Wisconsin in 1988.
Michigan Women's Music Festival in 1995.
Chicago, Illinois in 2002.
Bismarck, North Dakota in 2006.
How much more Pride did I need? I mean, really. But you know where I'm going with this. Fargo Pride knocked my socks off. Or something. Here's a sampling of Fargo Pride surprises:
1) The Fargo Police Department had a booth there, staffed by their real, live GLBT liaison, who was giving away (yes, giving away) totally free Junior Police Officer stickers. (See photo.)
2) NDSU had a representative there, who was giving away (yes, giving away) totally free NDSU Pride bracelets. (Rainbow style, of course. Wearing mine now).
3) Barack Obama had a booth at Pride, supporting GLBT folks. Since I didn't see him there in person, I went up to ask, Does he know you're doing this? Sure enough, he does. The Barack Obama Pride pamphlets are paid for by his campaign. (Really?)
4) Two Fargo City Commissioners and one hopeful County Commissioner spoke at the Pride celebration. (And none of them fell into a faint.)
5) Unlike Chicago Pride, none of the floats (as in zip, zero, nil) advertised beer.
6) Two young men stepped off the sidewalk to join our float, hoofing behind us, smiling widely, singing along. (In an alternate universe, I'm pretty sure I'm their mom...)
7) Brandee (age 11) tossed candy from our float with all the exuberance any parade deserves.
8) Though the size of the crowd was nothing like Folk Fest in Bismarck, and though unclaimed candy littered the street, some folks did turn out to watch the parade going by.
9) Rainbow flags decorated the lamp posts up and down Broadway. (This was not guerrilla pride. The City of Fargo OK'd this.)
10) We had a bona fide float (thanks to Lola, Carlie, Ella, Julie, and Brandee) with rainbows streaming everywhere and Kris singing (and singing and singing) into the mic. Now, get this: Our float won second prize!
First prize winners...just you wait 'til next year!