Inland Southern California  

Pagans left alone

Saturday's Pagan Pride Day in Gibbel Park was well-attended with little protest.

"Two hundred and fifty people signed the guest registrar," said Rowan Wakefield, a Hemet practitioner of witchcraft who organized the day in the park.

I expected the presence of witches and pagans would attract a sizable Christian objection. I was wrong.

Wakefield said there only was one protest. "We had a lovely lady and a couple of children handing out bottles of cold water and a Bible passage," she said.

"It was a real sweet protest."

The day celebrated a variety of ancient religions that are classified under the broad term of Paganism.

Organizers note they are serious about their beliefs, which often include revering the earth and forces of nature. They stress they follow a path of goodness, not evil.

The event included exhibits, dance, food and vendors.

Wakefield said she was pleasantly surprised by the lack of controversy. She said she was treated graciously when she visited a Hemet City Council meeting. She saw no signs of objection from city employees when she applied for permits to use the park.

"I got a lot of support and well wishes from the girls in the front office," Wakefield said.