Though every other day I spent in Switzerland, the weather was gorgeous, Saturday's forecast called for rain. A group of crazy Christians (yup, unfortunately even 3,000 miles away there's no escaping them!) were taking credit for the crappy weather by saying they'd prayed to God asking Him to scrounge up a storm to wash out all the sinners who wanted to wear glittery angel wings and drink expensive beer. Never one to be afraid of a little precip -- or worried by religious bullying -- I headed over to "The Locker Room" -- the inflatable, square igloo like building below that served as both a info center and bar during Europride -- and prepared for the homosexual Euro madness that awaited me.
(The Locker Room)
After a light lunch of mini-pizzas and carbonated apple juice, my press group made our way to where the parade would be kicking off. There we watched as flatbed trucks outfitted with stages began to fill up with the universal Pride fest crews: muscle-y men in hot pants, drag queens dipped in gold, dykes happily dancing to the German techno from the 90s spilling out of the truck's speakers.
The mayor of the city, Corine Mauch, both the first woman and lesbian to be elected to that position in Zurich, cut the ribbon and the parade began. We followed it -- sometimes along side of it, sometimes in the middle of it -- stopped off at the Savoy hotel so that we could take pictures from its balcony, and finally arrived at the at one of the two fairground-like areas where most of the Pride activities would take place for the rest of the day. There was a main stage with DJs spinning, there were tents selling food and beer, and we set in for a long, arduous day of pounding back drinks and chatting with cute guys with thick Swiss-German...accents. It's hard work, but I was up for the challenge.
The rain came, the rain left, the rain returned, but it didn't really stop the crowds from enjoying themselves. Overall, EuroPride reminded me a lot of New York City's pride -- only I was surrounded by a fairy tale-esque setting (Swans! Clock towers! Cobblestones!) and there weren't nearly as many people. It felt quaint, it felt a little old fashioned, but most of all, it was a really good time.
Want to experience Pride in Europe next year (instead of listening to me babble about it)? Get yourself a Lonely Planet guide to Warsaw. Poland's capital city is already gearing up to host the festivities in 2010.
Previously > A few things about the Swiss