Lifestyle

The bare essentials: Family, friends and music

People pose at the Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist park in Issaquah. - Mark Lowry/Issaquah Reporter
People pose at the Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist park in Issaquah.
— image credit: Mark Lowry/Issaquah Reporter

At first glance, it seems like a typical campground — a glistening pool, horseshoes, volleyball court (sand, with overhead stadium lights) sunbathers on the lawn and plenty of tents and RVs.

One thing that is missing: Clothes.

That’s right, this is the Fraternity Snoqualmie park, Issaquah’s very own nudist park.

The FS moved to its current location on Tiger Mountain in the mid-1940s, and nudists have been flocking to the area ever since.

In more recent years, FS has become known for its two annual open houses — the Bare Buns Fun Run and Nudestock, which took place last month.

“It’s a magical feeling,” spokeswoman Dawnzella Gearhart said. “There’s music, and you’re naked.”

Gearhart has been a member since 1993.

This year’s Nudestock featured music by The Boys of Greenwood Glen (a drinking band with an Irish problem, as they put it) as well as Maurice the Fish, Wired and others.

Nudestock was originally put on by Seattle’s radio station KISW and was an 18-and-older event. However, FS took over the event and turned it into a family-friendly music festival, Gearhart said.

Family friendly is what FS is all about.

Visitors (including members) are checked at the gate through the Washington State Patrol database.

“We check everybody,” Gearhart said. “But we also watch everybody.”

Jason Agrelias and his wife, Sara, have been bringing their daughter to FS for 14 years.

“She was two weeks old (at) her first Nudestock,” Jason said.

Jason and Sara both spoke of the benefits of a family friendly nudist facility.

“They’re so well adjusted,” Jason said. “There’s no ‘Let’s go hide in the closet and see what Johnny has.’ They’ve seen Johnny — and Uncle Johnny and Grandpa Johnny.”

“They’re comfortable in their own skin,” Gearhart added. “They don’t have shame. Shame is taught.”

Jason said he has been living a nudist lifestyle for many years, after his first experience at Black’s Beach when he was 18.

“It was too easy,” Jason said. “You almost have a problem not getting naked.”

“No tan lines,” Sara added. “I hate tan lines!”

Of course everyone at FS realizes their lifestyle isn’t for everyone or even approved by everyone.

Melissa, who was visiting Nudestock from Sacramento this year, has been a nudist for four years, although she hasn’t told anyone in her family yet.

Kids are not required to be nude at the park.

Most often the younger kids choose to be naked, while those entering puberty usually clothe themselves, at least for a few years, Gearhart said.

The park has undergone several rule changes over the years. There is no limit on how many single men are allowed to be members; the pool has evolved from a pit dug in the lawn to a year-round heated pool; there is now a small convenience store that sells lots of sunscreen; nude dancing is now allowed; and alcohol is now allowed on the premises.

“It’s all about family,” Gearhart said. “The drinking is the cherry on the top.”

For more information on FS, visit

www.fraternitysnoqualmie.com.

Kyra Low writes for the Issaquah Reporter: klow@reporternewspapers.com

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