Local runners share naked enthusiasm for Bare Buns Fun Run

July 9, 2013

By Erin Hoffman

The first time Mike Gearhart ran naked, he was both excited and apprehensive.

At the time, he was 34 and when he saw an advertisement for Fraternity Snoqualmie Family Nudist Park’s Bare Buns Fun Run, he thought, “Why not?” But what started out as a whim turned into a lifestyle.

More than two decades later, Gearhart, a regular member at Fraternity Snoqualmie, is preparing for the 22nd annual Fun Run. He is one of three people to have run it every single year.

“You can see the joy in everyone else,” he said. “It’s a really enjoyable day.”

On July 14, hundreds of runners will join Gearhart in varying degrees of dress. The Fun Run, a strenuous 5K trail run up Tiger Mountain, is the grand finale of a weekend at the nudist park. The festivities begin July 12 with a wine and cheese party. At 1 p.m. Saturday, Fraternity Snoqualmie, in partnership with the American Association for Nude Recreation, will attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for largest skinny dip, which it set in 2010.

Dawnzella Gearhart, Gearhart’s wife and public relations representative for Fraternity Snoqualmie, said she sees the run as an opportunity to connect with the rest of the community.

“One of the biggest reasons was to have an event to invite runners and the community to see how great our park is,” she said.

The race is the only clothing-optional event Fraternity Snoqualmie puts on, and while nobody is pressured to strip down, less than 10 percent of the people who run are fully dressed.

Aside from the physical activity, the Gearharts see the weekend as a great time to socialize. Both characterized the atmosphere of the park as inviting, and Dawnzella was quick to dismiss stigmas that surround the community.

“I haven’t heard of people feeling uncomfortable the first time they visit. Usually, they can’t wait to be back,” she said. “It’s a really cool, safe place to be.”

Fraternity Snoqualmie takes the safety of its members seriously. Anyone who comes into the park must show identification, and if people are acting inappropriately, they are asked to leave immediately. Anyone on the sex offender registration list is automatically barred. Both the Gearharts agree that member safety hasn’t been much of a problem in the past.

“You always seem to meet the nicest people,” Mike said. “They’re not requiring a lot to be happy if they can be happy lying naked in the grass.”

The first non-event visit to the park is free, and subsequent visits are between $8 and $24, depending on the day and the person’s student or military status. On the first visit, visitors are given a tour and an etiquette guide listing the rules of the park. Those whose first visit to the park will be the Fun Run are given a voucher for a free visit in the future.

“I’m thrilled I got to go, that I met these people and became part of this place,” Dawnzella said.

Preregistration for the run is $30 and includes a commemorative T-shirt; spectators are $16 with T-shirts sold separately. One dollar from each registration goes to skin cancer, with the specific charity to be announced.


If you go

Bare Buns Fun Run

Fraternity Snoqualmie Family Nudist Park

24050 S.E. 127th St., Issaquah

11 a.m. July 14




Dress down for a world record

You can help beat the heat — and a world record — by helping set the largest number of people simultaneously in the water without swimsuits.

This June 13 event, co-sponsored by the American Association for Nude Recreation and The Naturist Society, will be the exciting finale to Nude Recreation Week at Fraternity Snoqualmie Family Nudist Park. Organizers encourage participants to plan to camp and enjoy the rest of the activities planned for the week.

The dip is free with a paid $16 one-day membership. First time visitors can also get a free one-day pass for another day of the recreation week.

Photo identification is required; children are welcome if they attend with their parents. The gates to the event open at 11 a.m., with check-in beginning at noon. The skinny dip starts at 1 p.m.

Learn more at www.fraternitysnoqualmie.com or www.aanr.com/world-record-skinny-dip.

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