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Hip Image in YYC Pride 2017

October 23, 2017

By  Monique de St. Croix 

 

This was my first time IN a Pride Parade with Buttercup, our lovely 1972 VW Bus.  Being jetlagged from my trip to Newfoundland, added with having worked a fabulous wedding the night before with Buttercup, unpacking from the wedding, preparing for Pride, and then not sleeping quite long enough, the early morning-without-coffee was a little panicked.

 

If Buttercup had hair, she would have had bed-head this morning.  Nonetheless, with no make-up, and a little disheveled from hosting the fun-loving photo boothers, her little engine warmed up quickly and revved toward our next adventure:  Pride Parade 2017.  

 

We had a narrow window of time to find our place in the parade line-up, made more nerve wracking by barricaded streets, wrong turns and detours, not unlike the journey so many have made in defining their identity.

 

We were proud to find our place in the staging area, spot number 171, just three ahead of the end of the line.  With this important effort of coming out accomplished, I set about preparing Buttercup for her Pride debut.  Tie plastic floral puffs to windshield wipers, secure a peace sign firmly on the front bumper to broadcast our hope for the world, attach helium filled balloons to the travel rack, floating and buffeted by the brisk breeze, yet tethered enough to not become lost.  Needless to say, everything is rainbow coloured.   

 

I discover Benny the Hip Image Beaver was still seated in the back.  “Well, you need a better place to sit!”.  Thankfully, we had time. Lots of time.  Hours of waiting, in fact, before Pride 2017 was to begin.  I built a little perch on the shotgun side, opened the window and even strapped Benny in with the seatbelt.  The #hipimagebeaver sign was soon taped to the door, and generated much laughter and interest behind the scenes to all who walked by.  “Nice beaver!” – what a perfect mascot for a Pride Parade!   

 

Finally, the line began to move.  The exhaust behind any car is not great breathing air, and as cute as Buttercup is, her age combined with 1970 era mechanics is as smelly as smelly can be!  We let the teams of marchers behind us go ahead, thus positioning ourselves to be in the very final position.  Inching along the parade route was a wonderful experience.

 

Watch video of Buttercup in Pride parade>>

 

 

What a joy to witness people ‘see’ Buttercup!  Pointing and smiling, big eyes, excitement, joy, laughing and yelling with happiness!  The first 173 entrants had warmed the crowd up to this fantastic debut of our happy Hip Image hippy VW bus, the ever-lovable Buttercup.   We experienced some stressful moments when excited spectators rushed the bus for a picture, and then jumped in.  “Uhm, you can’t be in here!!”  We had to lock the door!  Some of our friends were along the route, and extremely happy to see us too.  Some walked along beside us for a few steps.   

 

From the driver’s seat, I had a perfect view.  So many people out to celebrate LOVE in all of its forms: boyfriends together, girlfriends together, families, fathers with daughters, mothers with sons, all colours, all shapes, all nations, friends together, I’m-not-sure-how-to-define-them-but-who-needs-labels? together, old, young…. just everyone!

 

Thousands of PEOPLE, just PEOPLE…. freely being who they are, celebrating, dancing, cheering and living.  As we were literally the absolute last entry in the parade, pride spectators became marchers. Soon we were surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of colourful, smiling, loving people.   

 

I was buoyant with hope. This is how the world can be, should be. 

 

Pride may have started out as stance against discrimination with respect to the LGBTQ community, yet the examples of dignity, equal rights, love, acceptance and building community are important for all levels of society, now more than ever.  

 

With the smiles that Buttercup inspired, and the joy I witnessed during YYC Pride 2017, I have hope that our world can be a more welcoming place, a safer place.   

 

Working together, we can help better things, one smile at a time. 

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