In the summer of 1959, a club in Canada took a bold step – a nudist open house. They placed ads in a local paper and opened their gate. On the day of the event, a long procession of visitors arrived. Some were strictly curiosity seekers, eager for a glimpse of a few nude bodies. But there were also those who sincerely wanted to learn about and to experience this idyllic lifestyle.
The merits of the event were not readily obvious. Although there was little immediate gain in membership, the public relations benefits were significant. Visitors who had never before come face to face with real live nudists could now tell their friends that the people they had met were real human beings with families, homes, and jobs; with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Nudists all over the continent were quick to sense the value of an open house. “Why can’t we have an open house too?” Fraternity Snoqualmie was no exception. But convincing the more conservative members was no small task. “What?! An open house?! It will bring gawkers up to the park! Perverts!” Finally, the powers that be were convinced, but not without restrictions.
“The open house will be early in the spring when no one is likely to be nude. That way, the visitors can see the park and meet the people without encountering nude bodies. And we can’t just open the gate to anyone and everyone! No singles!”
Ads were placed in the local newspapers. “NUDIST CAMP. Invitational open house. Married couples and families only. Write to Fraternity Snoqualmie, P.O. Box 985, Seattle, WA.” The ads appeared in the “Personal” sections of the papers. There were numerous inquiries and invitations were mailed out.
The first FS open house was in March, 1960. It was a cool, cloudy day and attendance was light. But a few of the visitors returned later on warm, sunny days and did, indeed, join the club.
The open house became an annual event. The name was changed from “Invitational Open House” to “Visitors’ Days” and the event took place later in the year when sunny weather could be expected. The ads still called for married couples and families, but invitations were mailed to singles who inquired.
A few prominent and very vocal members were convinced that the possibility of encountering nudity would deter many visitors. The ads clearly stated that there would be no nudity until after noon. Everyone remained clothed until noon at which time there was a mass disrobing. Most members objected strenuously to the “clothed until noon” policy and it almost killed the event. Finally, in 1966, the Visitors’ Days Committee, realizing that visitors were not coming simply to see a recreational facilities at a park full of clothed people, abandoned the “clothing mandatory” policy, much to the delight of the members.
Visitors’ Days continued with different variations, eventually coinciding with what the national affiliate group initially called “National Nude Weekend”. The title later became “Nude Recreation Week”. Years later, at Forestia, the event would be replaced totally by two events, “Bare Buns Fun Run, West” and “Nudestock”. More about these events in a future installment.
In the last few installments, we’ve bounced back and forth in time, telling about activities and events that occurred or commenced in the 1960’s. In this installment, we’d like to tell you about one more very important event of the 60’s and then we’ll move on to the next decade. The events described here occurred during the three-year period (summer 62 – summer 65) when we, your authors, were eating shrimp and jambalaya in sunny Louisiana. To write this installment, we had to tap into the memory bank of members who were here at the time. We wish to thank Howard and Margy Johnson and John and Ethel Salvin for their comments and their photographs.