I Love a Parade!
At seven o’clock, on the morning of June 1, an enthusiastic group of 25 CAMP Rehoboth members and supporters set out for the state capital, Dover, to participate in Delaware’s first-ever Pride Parade.
Particularly poignant about this being the state’s inaugural parade to celebrate LGBTQ pride is that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Widely recognized as the galvanizing event that catapulted the gay rights movement in the US, Stonewall occurred simply because a group of people decided to no longer be repressed for celebrating who they are.
One of the positive outcomes from Stonewall is the annual tradition of celebrating pride during the month of June. And, similar to the many celebrations to be held across the country and around the world during the month, the organizers of Delaware Pride worked hard to ensure that the First State can be proud of its first parade efforts as well.
In part, this is why it will come as no surprise to virtually anyone who knows me even fairly well, that this parade lover was determined to see CAMP Rehoboth have a presence in this important and historic event.
Given our brigade of Jeeps in every color of the rainbow, escorting several of Rehoboth’s finest drag queens, with the remaining crew engaging the crowd in an electric manner, we were covered in the local news and on the pages of multiple newspapers. We showed up. Our presence was known. Our mission accomplished. And we had a blast doing it. Thanks also to the Jeep owners who offered their time and vehicles, to I.G. Burton for making our rainbow complete with the use of a brand new orange Jeep, and to all those who marched with us.
CAMP Rehoboth was also represented at the Pride Festival by Health and Wellness Director, Sal Seeley, staffing a popular outreach booth, and by the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus, who received a warm ovation after performing on stage. Thanks to Sal, chorus director Doug Yetter, and to the chorus members who sang…all of whom represented CAMP Rehoboth well and made us proud!
Next year’s Delaware Pride Festival has already been set for June 6, so save the date and stay tuned fellow CAMPers. We have plenty of time to plan!
Shortly after our return home, an onslaught of social media posts commenced. Many accolades and emotions were expressed. But I was particularly struck by the impact the event had on one of our very own, Fancie P. Charmington.
On Facebook she wrote, “Today was one of the most special days of my life. It was an honor to represent CAMP Rehoboth and Rehoboth Beach in the first ever Delaware Pride Parade.” Fancie went on to explain that most meaningful to her was the presence of “so many young people who are living their truth, a few were in tears as they greeted us and said hello. I have never experienced such joy and am forever humbled.”
If that isn’t the definition of pride, I don’t know what is. Happy Pride to ALL! ▼
Chris Beagle is President of the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Directors and a realtor at Berkshire-Hathaway-Gallo Realty in Rehoboth Beach.