Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

RuPaul to headline festivities at Pasco's Sawmill Camping Resort

TRILBY — A mane of bleach-blond hair. Long, flapping eyelashes. Hot pink lips.

The iconic drag queen RuPaul is making only one live appearance in North America this year, along with several other MTV and VH1 personalities. Bus loads of fans will be carted in from all over Florida and Georgia. It's being hyped as "the BIGGEST celebration in Florida."

And it's at a camp in northeast Pasco County.

Sawmill Camping Resort, which touts itself as "America's FIRST Gay Community," is hosting the celebration over the next two weekends to mark its first anniversary as a gay-owned co-op.

The 120-acre gay and lesbian resort sits off U.S. 98, just south of the Pasco-Hernando county line. Campsites, recreational vehicle spots and cabins group around three bars, one night club and a clothing-optional pool. Some people have made homes of their trailers and are permanent residents of the camping resort.

The resort has been around for years. When the last owners looked to sell it in 2011, a group of residents formed a co-op and bought it for $1.9 million. The resort is "now believed to be the largest gay-owned nonprofit co-op community in the U.S.," Creative Loafing reported last year.

The folks at Sawmill would not comment for this story, but the resort's website gives a litany of celebrities and parties for the anniversary festivities.

The first weekend, which begins today and runs through Monday, bills the "Glamazon" performance by RuPaul (who also performed at the resort in 2008). There will also be a competition for a $1,000 cash prize and a performance contract on RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality show on LOGO TV. There will be dance parties and pool parties and RuPaul will sell limited edition RuPaul Dolls for $20.

Celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz will be at the resort next weekend, April 5 to 9, promoting his book, Pretty Masculine, and holding a Model Search Dance Party on April 7. The winning model will receive $1,000 cash and a cover spot on What's Happening Magazine. On April 6, the cast of A-List New York, another LOGO TV show, will host an indoor/outdoor dance party. VH1's Glenn Douglas Packard's Boots N Boys, "America's first all-gay male revue," will appear April 6-7.

Accommodations during the celebrations run from $25 per person per night for primitive tent camping, to $150 per night for two-person cabins with utilities. For information, visit www.flsawmill.com.

Times researcher Natalie Watson and correspondent Lisa A. Davis contributed to this report.

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