Nudes a Poppin The Pub
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The perennial question directed at any of its current and former attendees. I imagine we all pause for a few seconds as our minds send us back into a vivid dreamscape of fun and wild abandon. Then, when we come to, we simply answer “You just have to be there, man”. Here is why. There’s so much freaking awesomeness! Sometimes, all at once.

So, before I geek out, here’s a little history. The Nudes-A-Poppin festival was founded in 1975 by the nudist resort Ponderosa Sun Club. The Sun Club was founded in 1964 and is located in Roselawn, Indiana. That’s right! Naked fun in Indiana! Take that, California! The festival’s purpose, of course, was to advertise the existence of the resort. I would say being mentioned in Playboy’s “69 Sexy Things 2 Do Before You Die” should count as a win in that area. The festival’s exhibitionism also placed Roselawn, Indiana in the number one spot of AlterNet’s “Kinkiest Cities” listing.

I mentioned exhibitionism, right? That’s what this festival/contest is all about! Letting go and enjoying what your mama gave you with like-minded people. Hundreds of tourists and participants from across the globe head here, not for the wild and crazy fun you’d expect in a movie. It’s a no-pressure atmosphere that allows patrons and contestants alike to enjoy a memorable vacation. Bodies of all shapes and ages roam free and party to the level they wish. The contest has the same feel. The feel from the audience is less about “body perfections”, though appreciated, and more along the lines of “Show me what you’ve got…and you’d better have fun with it too”.

From a contestant’s perspective—Justice, the entertainer says, “I always look forward to NAP, seeing my friends and the creativity of others blossom. As a Canadian, I always strive to be the best dancer I can. I want to be entertaining, creative and memorable. So, to be rewarded and accepted for these attributes is always humbling.”

Every year I’ve attended (once in 2009 and every year since 2013) this feeling is exactly what the contestants, male and female, had. This year was no exception.

NAP holds contests ranging from exotic dancer beauty pageants, to Showgirl stage shows, to pole dancers doing those pole things that make you wish you could just stop eating that damn double bacon cheeseburger for at least a month and triple your gym time, but you won’t…so, do you girl! They also hold fun little sex-themed games where anyone can participate and win fun little prizes along with mini-celebrity for the day. One of those games included a balloon, whipped cream and lots of rubbing… Yeah. Think on that.

The festivities begin Friday night for contestants and patrons that pay for the VIP experience. It begins with a cook-out, hosted by the residents and festival programmers, with food so good few contestants utter a word of worry about their waistlines. From there you find your buddy, find your group or stumble upon a new one, and party like naked rock stars!

Saturday is the start of the festival. People are up as early as 7 am. Contestants to register and patrons to…well, honestly, I don’t know why. Some people just vacation weird. Competitors and spectators somehow pull themselves together for the competition that begins at 10 am. Simone Danalustrous, Viva La Muerte and I help the competition crew clean the poles and entertain the crowd with our shenanigans.

We drink, we laugh, we eat and rest—9 pm arrives and with it the “Glow Show” competition, a new addition to the festival’s competitions. Men and women competed this year showcasing light shows, glowing props, fire and dance/acrobatic skills. Puerto Rican Princess Zuma went on to take the title having wowed the crowd with every glow/fire device known to man with expert skill. From LED poi that displayed ever changing signage (like the Ponderosa Sun Club’s logo) to a guitar with a sparkler attached, the audience never knew what was going to happen next.

The day concluded with the much beloved dance party in the Ponderosa main pavilion. Partiers danced nude, fully clothed, or some mixture in-between to a wide range of music while sharing drinks and …wait, is that a giant Pikachu? Yes, that is a giant Pikachu rubbing its furry body on my backside. I can dig this. Again, the drinks flowed and the laughter with it. Saturday ended on a beautiful high-note.

Sunday afternoon, radio host, Chicago legend, “Freak”, Tony Batman, porn legend Ron Jeremy and reality tv star/rapper, Flavor Flav hosted with upcoming industry host Phil Xpress and Ponderosa Sun Club’s resident musical celebrity Mike Vet of the band 3 Peace this year. The banter and barbs kept the audience engaged enough to ignore the sun beating down on their naked bodies. *Side note: Nudes-A-Poppin is the only time my deeply melanin-infused skin demands sunscreen upon pain of…well, pain. Equal opportunity! Wear sunscreen. * From 10 am until well into the later afternoon, patrons stood outside whooping, hollering, dancing along.

The Sunday competitions have always been my favorite (besides the dance party) of the weekend events. Testing my mettle against my peers is a rush I find hard to replace with anything else, but NAP offers something different—a chance to see performers and the shows I wouldn’t otherwise witness, like male performances or props that would never fit inside of an enclosed venue. There’s also the freedom to “cut up” and express our appreciation of performances without reservation. It looked like every competitor screamed, waved towels or bikini tops in celebration of that smooth move. They twerked along in support of their rivals while yelling, “Get it girl!”

So, we strut our stuff during the pageants. We dance with gusto during the Go-Go competitions as couples and solo. We wow our audience with comedy, sensuality and skill in the Show-categories. We pose for the cameras on podiums. The day winds down. Ron Jeremy tells one of his famously bad jokes whilst distracted by a young dancer’s bouncing backside. “Freak”, Tony Batman and Phil Xpress move us along into the awards announcements. There are so many! If you would like to see the full list of winners, check out Nap on Facebook, click here!

Simone Danalustrous took home Miss Nude Entertainer of the Year. The name speaks for itself, her glorious “Predator” show (from the movie) finally achieving the recognition it deserved. Justice the Entertainer won Miss Nude Galaxy, a pageant created to recognize the beauty and sparkling personalities of club dancers. Yours truly walked away with (well, skipped anyway) Miss Nude North America, a pageant for dancers representing an agency. The three of us laughed and posed for pictures, happy to share in each other’s glory.
NAP is a different experience for us competing Showgirls.

The talented Annie Lane puts it this way, “Nudes-A-Poppin is a fun experience that I greatly enjoy every time. In addition to all its beautiful shows and entertaining [side] events, it is an opportunity to see many friends and meet new people. … I have competed in several competitions, including Showgirl and Go-Go dancing, and I went home with several trophies! I am looking forward to attending next year!”

I couldn’t agree more. Nudes-A-Poppin is more than just competition. It’s a vacation.

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