As any Fire Island regular knows—and newcomers learn quickly—Pines Party is one of the can’t-miss events of the summer.
“The Pines Party is a most spectacular all-night dance party on the beach in Fire Island Pines, produced as a fundraiser for the community and for the enjoyment of the gay dance world at large,” explains Guy Smith, Pines Party’s producer and principal designer. “It’s an opportunity for the Pines residents to show off their production and design talent, and their bodies and their costumes, dancing until dawn on the sand, under the stars, in what looks like a massive film set.”
While there are many annual parties that draw huge crowds to Fire Island, Pines Party is set apart by being produced entirely by the community, for the community, dividing the funds raised from the event between Stonewall Community Foundation and the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association (FIPPOA) Charitable Foundation. And this community knows what they’re doing. “We’re a sophisticated lot,” says Smith, “so the set design, lighting, sound, tents, and service are all impeccable and over-the-top. This is the grand-daddy of beach parties, and it’s really the most magical of them all.”
The production value isn’t all that sets this summer happening apart from the island’s other bashes. Hal Hayes, one of the Pines Party’s coordinators, adds, “It is also the only night party on the beach itself, which is a magical experience: dancing all night under the moon and stars, and walking home in your bare feet with your friends and loved ones in the surf at sunrise.” Pines Party also includes several sponsor and VIP tents that showcase the creativity of the community. “Each of these is a mini-party within the party itself,” says Hayes, “and most all are warm and welcoming to all. There is also a second venue, which has revolved over time between a full dance floor with DJ, a lounge, a cabaret and burlesque, and even a casino. There’s something special and wonderful for everyone.”
This year’s theme, South Pacific, is sure to make for a visually dynamic experience. “We are on the beach; half our set is already there,” says Smith, explaining how Pines Party’s organizers decided on the theme. “Beyond that, it has so many great associations, and tremendous synergy with characters and costumes. I love the look and feel of that era of music, culture, and design. It’s just a fun and sexy party.”
The lineup is pretty sexy as well. Spanish DJ duo Chus and Ceballos will be making their Fire Island debut at Saturday night’s main event on the beach, joined by island favorite Morabito, who will be playing Pines Party for the first time. Fire Island staple Matty Glitterati will spin the Blue Lagoon Pool Party Saturday afternoon at 135 Beach Wk, alongside the party’s emcee, Porsche. And Serving Ovahness will close out the weekend on Sunday at the Bali Hai After Party at 58 Bay Wk.
Another new element for Pines Party this year is the luxury party bus traveling from Manhattan on Saturday evening and arriving an hour or so before the beginning of the main event. A specially scheduled ferry will leave The Pines shortly after sunrise so that party boys can catch the bus back to the city. “I think it will be a great addition to the event,” Hayes says, “opening it up to people that love the Pines but don’t have a share, or aren’t out that weekend, or just can’t afford to stay overnight but don’t want to miss out on the most unique all-night party that New York has to offer!”
Smith is planning to use his production skills to make sure that this party is one you won’t forget. “We are under the stars this time—no more tent. That means lighting and effects can shoot far up into the sky, and you really feel more one with nature and the power of the surf and everything that goes with it. Another special element is the closing show at dawn—no speeches, no goodbyes this time. Instead, something really unique and magical. I think this is the party people will talk about for years.”
Pines Party, July 26 at Fire Island Pines (btwn Cedar/Coast Guard Wks); $150 beach party/$60 pool party/$50 after party/$200 three-event pass/$500 VIP. Visit pinesparty.com for more info.