Nowt As Queer As Folk
Last Saturday, 27th August 2016, Littleborough’s Folk Arts Group, Oakenhoof, pranced, pulled, and maypole danced around Manchester’s Pride Parade, in glorious sunshine. After last years jaunt in the parade, where we won best walking entry with our crochet maypole, we thought we would expand it a bit. We enlisted help from the Thieving Magpies from Marsden, some Cotswold dancers from Hexidaisy, some hand weaved wicker Morris Hobby Horses, and our own tribe of Oakenhoofers, plus our very own Rushcart.
Manchester Pride is an annual celebration for the LGBT community in the area over the August Bank Holiday weekend. It incorporates a festival/concerts and a parade right through the city centre on the Saturday. Close to two hundred thousand people line the streets in an incredibly positively charged atmosphere of party.
Oakenhoof were led on the parade by our community created banner: held aloft by our tip toeing security Fawns, a Pegasus on stilts, and a multidirectional cross dressing Morris Molly. Closely followed by thoroughbred Wicker Morris Horses, jockeyed by mustachioed prancing dancers. The horses represented the four seasons, plus three more, one representing the noble art of crochet, another electro minimalism, and finally a juvenile Unicorn. They were followed by the Gay Pole and it’s crochet clad dancers, interweaved by young butterflies and Cotswold dancers. I heard several shouts of joy about “Yay, it’s the Gay pole again!” Then we had our awesome folk musicians, providing the merry tunes for us to dance to. Bringing up the rear was our magnificent Littleborough Rushcart. This was pulled by at least sixteen of our group, led by the Border Morris side, Thieving Magpie, and including our Littleborough Lakeside councillor, Janet Emsley. Another first, was that we had to reclaim some of the rushes from the fabulous Saddleworth Rushcart. Our’s were cut for Littleborough Rushbearing mid July. So, we think these are the first rushes to have been on two Rushcarts.
Not only does Oakenhoof have a few LGBT group members, inclusion and diversity are at the core of our organisation's principles. The Pride Parade not only allows us to support our LGBT community, but also pride in all the diversity evident in our group. However, and most importantly, we get to dream up and make all this crazy stuff happen as a really close knit community group. We’ve all spent hours and hours weaving, crocheting, knitting, constructing, Rushcart decorating, and practising. All to spend a fantastic day together spreading and receiving lots of joy.