On the 15th of June, the last day of Pirkanmaan Pride in Tampere, I joined the organisers’ group to contribute to the success of the day. The scheduled events were the final parade followed by a concert and dance and art performances on the stage in Laikun Lava.
On my arrival I met Jakko who asked me to help clean the benches in front of the stage and to prepare the soap bubble machines for the beginning of the concert. It was a fancy discovery to me: I had never seen a soap bubble machine before – and what wonderful clouds of bubbles did I see later!
After that I joined Lilla, who works for the Tampere Youth Centre Nuorisopalvelut. Lilla and a colleague of hers were trying to assemble their stand. Helping them turned out to be a great opportunity for me to get in touch with very nice people who are not only sensitive towards the fight against homophobia, but also towards children. This gave me the chance to discover more what Finnish youth centres work for and which goals they pursue according to the different ages and life stages of children and youths. I think their stand was the most original: they were not supposed to sell anything, but only to share: my main job was in fact inflating countless number of balloons to distribute people gathering for the concert, and especially children (to my grateful surprise, there were many families with children taking part in the pride). While inflating balloons, Lilla showed me a beautiful, multicolour and large crochet curtain that was supposed to be hung on the front side of the stand. On almost all the knots, little and colourful tickets were hanging through clips labelled as “paras minä”. Lilla told me this meant “what I’m best at” and that they wanted to spread it as a hashtag. Every ticket was written by a random person and contained a motivational message. The idea was to let people freely choose to take a ticket for themselves and replace it with another written anew for whoever might have come after. Lilla asked me to write some tickets in English for the non-Finnish speakers and after that I felt free to pick my ticket as well.
In the meantime, people had gathered in front of the stage, and very quietly, and tipically-Finnishly politely, they had sat on the benches on the surrounding meadows to enjoy the show.
This experience was very training for me. With little mess and quiet attitude, it was possible to enjoy a perfect day. Finns for sure know how to fight staying peaceful!