First out the gate for the past 13 years is the hugely popular Winter Explosion ski trip to New York’s Catskills region. Some 800 gay men and their friends will take over the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, N.Y. “Attendees want a boutique event, not a circuit party,” said organizer Don Johnson. “We call it a celebration and affirmation of black gay life.” Chaka Khan is the concert headliner this year.
While some girls will be at Winter Explosion, many more will be in Harrisburg, Pa., for the All Ladies Connection Ski Getaway. Black lesbians will gather for comedy jams and pajama parties in between ski activities.
As the snow begins to melt, throngs of black women will gather in Newark, N.J., to Celebrate Sisterhood at the 10th Annual Eastern Regional Womyn of Colour Conference, organized by African Asian Latina Lesbians United.
The City of Brotherly Love kicks off the first of the spring/summer pride extravaganzas with four days of nonstop bacchanalia at Philadelphia Black Pride. Plenty of indoor events abound in case the weather isn’t too cooperative.
By the time Memorial Day weekend rolls around, black gays head south. Many will make their annual pilgrimage to the nation’s capital for D.C. Black Pride. For 17 years, this event has been a strong draw and now pulls in tens of thousands.
The 3,100-plus men who end up in Puerto Rico over Memorial Day weekend are dubbed San Juan Brothas. Vacationers come in for a week of culture, film, and dancing. “We’re an arts festival, but you have the choice to have a boy in a swimsuit serve you,” says organizer Biff Warren. "You’re on a beach in water that feels like you’re in a bath, and the eye candy doesn’t hurt." The lore of the week has spread, and European admirers jet in to hang too.
At the end of June, the attention shifts to the West Coast for a California beach party. At The Beach in Malibu draws in thousands of revelers for a long weekend of festivities culminating with a fantastic oceanside jam.
The mature set (35 and over) takes over South Beach for four days in July. It’s workshops by day, martinis by afternoon, and jazz and comedy by night during the Miami Beach Bruthaz getaway.
Drag queens have invaded Fire Island Pines from neighboring Cherry Grove every July 4th since 1976. In 2003, black revelers began invading Cherry Grove on a July Saturday, adding--if only for one day--a huge dash of color to the island. Fifty people showed up for the first Fire Island Black Out. Last year there were over 600.
AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 4
Thousands descend upon Atlanta for In the Life, a four-day celebration of all things gay and black. Atlanta has had a vibrant gay scene for years, and generations of black families have made the city their home. Labor Day weekend brings a gay black reunion like no other.