Nudestock is now a family-friendly affair
August 25, 2009
By David Hayes
Once couples only, clothing-optional event now a regular day in the park
Over the years of Tim Long’s friendship with Michael and Dawnzella Gearhart, they’d told him about this little event they put on.
So, three years ago, Long made the short trek from Tukwila to Issaquah after the Gearharts finally talked him into attending.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Long admitted. “But after a few minutes, I felt quite comfortable.”
After all, Long learned quickly, as the saying goes, if you don’t do as the natives do at Nudestock, “you stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t.”
Long plans to attend again this year Aug. 29, even though he hasn’t yet become a member.
Dawnzella said the event is open to everyone, whether they’re members or not. Like any other time, visitors to Fraternity Snoqualmie Family Nudist Park get a free one-day pass to the event.Nudestock was originally the brainchild of KISW radio hosts Bob Rivers, Spike O’Neill and Joe Bryant in 1991. When the trio moved to KZOK, KISW dropped their sponsorship of Nudestock in 1996.
That was just fine with the Gearharts, who are in charge of public relations at Fraternity Snoqualmie.
“It used to be for 18 and older and couples only,” Dawnzella said. “Now, it’s like a regular day in the park for the whole family.”
If the weather is sunny and warm, she expects between 500 and 600 nudists to show. If it’s cloudy and threatening to rain, they’ll still get at least 300 people.
“I remember a couple years ago, we felt like little kids dancing around naked in the rain,” Dawnzella said.
To entice the masses, there will be many activities, including beach volleyball, swimming in a heated pool, hot tubbing, arts and crafts vendors, and food provided by Dante’s Infernal Dogs. And first-time visitors receive a complimentary one-day membership. A photo ID is all that’s required, which Dawnzella said is crosschecked with Oregon and Washington state sex offender lists.
Dawnzella said she is especially proud of the live entertainment she’s lined up to entertain festivalgoers, including Raymond Hayden and the Dark Drive Home, Paul Greene and Straightshot, Wired! and the all-nudist band, with Dawnzella on lead vocals, Spicey C’eetoe.
They’ve actually managed to cut back on entertainment costs when member Jason Agrelins, who owns a staging company, donates a stage each year.
A member for 14 years now, the Tacoma resident joined when his daughter was born.
“It’s a great family event. Kids are very safe there,” he said. “I’ve seen dozens of kids grow up there.”
Agrelins said that the children who attend events at Fraternity Snoqualmie end up being well-adjusted in life, better respecting their parents and themselves.
“We get a good, diversity of people up there,” he said. “There’s everything from airline pilots to doctors to religious people who attend Nudestock, go to church and return in the afternoon.”
Many nudists decide to camp overnight. Dawnzella said the fee is waived for newbies. Nudestock events are wrapped up with a bonfire in the evening and more volleyball.
As for who should give Nudestock a try? Agrelins answered that best.
“If you run around the house with your significant other without your clothes on, really don’t care what others think of you or have issues with others, then this place is for you,” he said.
If you go
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Aug. 29
24050 S.E. 127th St.
Parking is limited; carpooling is highly recommended.
David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.