It all started with a group of individuals trying to save a beaver den from an Interstate Highway.
This year the theme of the Beaver Queen is the Wizard of Gnaws. (eg. Oz).
The Pageant is fun and family-style frivolity for all. It is part talent show, part parade, New Orleans participatory style. There are food trucks. The Scrap Exchange always has a tent where attendees can construct their own beaver costume tail and all.
Many arrive in costume.
The official Beaver Queen website notes: “This year’s theme, the Wizard of Gnawz, inspires all sorts of costume ideas: sparkly ruby shoes, a beaver in a basket, flying beavers in red soldier suits, green faces, and so much more. That said please wear whatever floats your beaver boat, and dress for the weather.”
The jokes are bawdy, after all the theme is Beavers. But like the best of the Pixar films, the adults laugh and the kids go right on enjoying the show with nary a clue.
For the youngest among us, there is a hose and some water toys available in the Duke Park area where the pageant is held.
It is a diverse and usually fabulous crowd.
There is no doubt Beaver Queen is extremely popular within Durham’s vibrant LBGTQ community. It is one thing to preach LBGTQ tolerance to a child, it is another thing entirely to take them to the Beaver Queen pageant where they can laugh, and smile, and see for themselves that everybody has the same heart, the same guts, and the same soul that they do. (All while supporting the environment.)
Bring a blanket or a chair and slather on the sunscreen. Don’t forget to do the tops of your ears.
Votes for the pageant contestants cost $5. The pageant winner is announced near the end of the festivities. Proceeds are donated to Ellerbe Creek.