Going to a public event

This page focuses on general information about a wide range of public events – if you’re attending an open ritual, take a look at some ideas to help you feel able to participate there, as well.

Types of events:

There are many different kinds of events out there, and they serve different needs in the community. If one kind of event isn’t a good fit for you, consider trying others.

Conversational/networking gatherings are quite common.
These focus on general conversation and interaction. They go by different names in different areas, but common names include Coffee Cauldron, Meet-Ups, Pub Moots (common in the UK). Sometimes there’ll be a specific topic or short presentation. Others will not have any particular focus, just a chance for people of like minds to see if they connect.

Classes are also a great way to meet people in the Pagan community.
Many cover general topics, but even a class on a subject you know well can be a great way to meet people with similar interests, connect with a teacher for other reasons, or find other points of interest in the community. Classes usually have a cost, but often there are options in a particular community that are low cost (just to cover basic materials or space rental), or have sliding scale options.

Rituals are another good way to make connections.
Public rituals often include plenty of time to meet people and interact. Some rituals are open to anyone, others may require a RSVP for specifics.

Festivals (and conferences)
These are a longer, often more intense way to interact with others in the community, as they may last anywhere from a weekend to ten days. Often there will be some theme involved that ties many of the events together.

Public education events are a smaller category under festivals – Pagan Pride events, for example, are designed to help educate the public about Paganism, but they can also be a great way to connect with others in the Pagan community.

Who’s welcome:

There are three basic categories of events out there:

Open events are open to anyone. Generally the announcement will have the address and other information included, as well as any other important information (anything you need to bring, requested donation or cost, other basics.)

Semi-public events are only slightly different: generally they require some sort of initial contact before you get important information (often the specific location of the event). These are common if you’re meeting at a private home, or if the event needs to plan for specific numbers. Or, of course, if there’s a registration process or cost involved. Usually, they’re open to anyone who is interested.

Invite only events are what they sound like – for these, you need to be invited to participate. Often these are how small groups work, to make sure that there’s space in the living room or other meeting place, and that everyone knows what’s expected. There may be a pre-event step here: meeting someone at a coffee shop, an email explaining why you’re interested, a registration process.

Making the most of the event:

Know why you’re there:
If you’re interested in meeting people, you might want to pick different events than if you’re focusing on learning a skill or on learning about people’s ritual practices.

Know your event:
It’s fine to bring a friend to an open ritual, but don’t assume there’s space for a friend at a semi-open or invite-only event without getting permission from the person in charge of the event. Sometimes this is easy (as in a semi-open event), sometimes it may not be possible (like at an invite-only event that can only handle a few guests.) Sometimes the friend may need to go through a basic intro process with the people running the event, just like you did.

Plan ahead:
Do you need to bring anything specific? Usually these requests are pretty simple, especially for open events. If you have any questions, though, it’s much easier to ask ahead of time – the people running the event may not be easy to ask right before everything starts. You can check out other pages here for help with what to wear or some easy but good potluck choices.

Leave yourself choices:
Whenever possible, leave yourself multiple options. If you can, figure out how to get to and from the event without relying on anyone else for a ride. That way, you can arrive and leave when you need to. If something makes you feel uncomfortable (or you just plain need to get some sleep), you can go without feeling like you’re tearing a friend away who’s having a good time.  A little extra cash in case people go out for coffee or dessert afterward often doesn’t hurt either.

A notepad, index cards, or your favorite technology note-taking device can be handy:
Especially if you’re networking, you may meet people you want to get back in touch with. Having an easy way to write down names, email addresses, and so on is always useful.

Last edited December 26, 2016

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