It has been difficult going since our Billy Community last met for an in-person gathering for Mid-Winter in early 2020. Although we were aware the COVID-19 coronavirus was starting to spread around the globe, none of us really imagined we’d end up living through a 16-month pandemic before the opportunity to gather together face to face would arrive again. During this time, many in our Community experienced great isolation and loss due to stay-at-home orders, the shuttering of businesses and venues, and the illness and death of our family members, friends, and compatriots. As things start to open back up and we struggle to regain a sense of normalcy, many of us are coping with grief for our losses that perhaps we have been unable to express and process during our isolation.
How can we take this time to transition and infuse it with fun and joy? As we gather together again and enter into our communal Heart-space, undoubtedly many of us will have our loss, grief, and even some fear at meeting in-person at the forefront of our thoughts. To address this, several rituals are being created to address, translate into the physical, and process our grief and fear. Our treasured Heart Circles will be taking place each morning throughout the gathering, where we’ll be able to share and witness each other’s experiences. And it is our hope you will take as much time as you need to arrive, settle in, reconnect, and share what’s on your mind and in your heart!
You Are Cordially Invited To Join Together With Your Billy Community at Saratoga Springs
from June 29th through July 5th,
for our Summer Gathering: Billy Beach Blanket Bingo Babylon!
Over the coming year, the Billys will gather on a quarterly basis, in alignment with the yearly seasons: Summer (July 4th), Autumn (Labor Day), Winter (New Year), and Spring (May Day). We’re happy to invite you to kick off this new calendar with our Summer 2021 Gathering: Billy Beach Blanket Bingo Babylon! The Billy Board, Gathering Council, Resource Coordinator, and Saratoga Springs management are all working together to create as safe a space as possible for us to meet in community, reconnect, relax, and create a meaningful experience as we transition back into a face-to-face world. From the innocent playfulness of summertime evoked by Beach Blanket Bingo to the sophisticated bawdiness of the near-half century musical review Beach Blanket Babylon, our Gathering will have something for everyone!
While all group activities will be held outside during the Gathering, we’ll still have all of our traditional activities, such as meals together, morning Heart Circles, talent show, workshops, and pool and hot tub access. Although we encourage you to take as much time as needed to reconnect with your Billy friends, we are also developing a wide range of rituals and activities to facilitate reconnecting with your body/mind/spirit, your community, and the land at Saratoga Springs!
Ritual: As soon as you arrive at Saratoga Springs, you’ll be invited to participate in an expression of grief by writing about your thoughts, feelings, and losses during the pandemic on a Wall Of Grief. This will later be transformed into a Tree Of Hope upon which you can attach your intentions, dreams, and hopes for the future. We’ll also create altars to honor our Billy Community Members who have transitioned to the Beyond, our family, friends, and compatriots lost during the pandemic, and our collective grief and loss of the past year-and-a-half. We’ll also have rituals to celebrate the present moment, and our determinations for a better future!
Dances & Competitions: Two dances with competitions are in the planning. The first will be held on Friday night—our Big Hat Gala, paying homage to Beach Blanket Babylon. Create a Big Hat with coordinating outfit of your own choosing, and strut your stuff on the catwalk for all to see! We’ll have a special prize for the Billy with the best overall combo! Then dance the rest of the night away. Our second dance will be held poolside on Sunday Afternoon. Boogie on down with wet and wild tunes during the afternoon, and participate in one, or both, of our special events—The Annette Funicello Look-Alike Contest, and the Frankie Avalon Sexy Swimwear Competition!
Care Of The Land: Amos and Steve from the Billys, and Jason from Saratoga, are organizing two events for those who would like to connect back with the land on a more intimate level. Friday morning and Saturday late-afternoon, join with them to learn more about the long history of sacred importance Saratoga Springs has held for many Peoples. Learn about the vision held by Saratoga Springs to restore the valley floor to its natural grandeur. Help care for the baby Oak Trees planted as acorns by Billys and other groups throughout the past few years. Support the intention of making this a regular Billy event at future gatherings!
Other Activities: Tuesday night we’ll be screening Beach Blanket Bingo, and possibly a second summer-themed movie, to get us in the summertime mood. Thursday night will be a music-accompanied Community Stargazing Event, and Saturday evening we’ll have our traditional Everybody’s Got Talent Show!
We have seen recently that the COVID policies of the CDC, State of California and Lake County are in flux. We know that the risk cannot be completely eliminated, only greatly reduced. The State of California will be lifting most protocols on June 15, but in the interests of safety and in an abundance of caution, we will be observing stricter guidelines.
Please note: Due to the many variables outside the coordinators’ control, it is strongly recommended you check this page to find the most current updates and latest COVID safety information for the Gathering.
This Gathering is open to gay, bi, queer men, including trans-men. You must be 18 to attend.
Come join us for fun and sun, play and relaxation, and reconnection. Bring your Billy Magic and Volunteer Spirit. Celebrate the return of the in-person Billy Gathering! We hope to see you there!
If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety issues at the Summer Gathering, please contact Eric Murray, firstname.lastname@example.org, Conduit email@example.com or Kris Shanks, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to volunteer or have questions for the Co-Coordinators please contact BearHug (Darrell Standring) email@example.com
Registration closes June 20, 2021 — Registration fee includes all lodging and meals for the event