‘Queers in the Country’ van life camping event comes to Richmond

Leah Bomar

If you’ve always been curious about what a nomadic lifestyle looks like, here’s your chance to be about that van life for a weekend. Queers in the Country: A community centric meet-up for LGBTQ+ nomads is coming to Richmond, Kentucky April 22-25, 2022.   Bring your van for the weekend or just visit for a day to take in the scene and enjoy the lineup of LGBTQ+ programming and festivities, including a Sunday Drag Brunch. 

Event coordinator Braidyn Browning spent the past 10 months living in a van full time traveling cross country. They noticed the lack of queer safe spaces in the nomadic community and decided to do something about it.

Braidyn Browning (they/them)

Browning went into action partnering with the Queer-owned wedding and event venue Stonehouse at Silver Creek in Richmond, Kentucky.  The historic property will be transformed into the premiere van life gathering of its kind focusing on LGBTQ+ community building and specific programming.  

“The nomadic community has an immense privilege to be able to pick up our lives to go wherever, to pour our money into supporting local communities wherever we go,” they said. “I thought, ‘What might it look like if we entered the rural community?’”

Every dollar raised goes directly to help the Pride and Joy Foundation in their mission to reduce the rate of suicide and homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community and educate local schools, parents and community members on how to be better allies. 

Weekend passes cover entry to the Friday night Mixer “Meet and Greet” and a full day of programming Saturday.   Discussion topics include being queer and/or BIPOC on the road, intersectional experiences, tips for finding affirming travel destinations, overall safety and sexual well-being. Other topics include basic van maintenance training and how to work with brand/partnerships and making money as a nomad.

Saturday night’s events feature a full queer comedy set, catered community dinner with vegetarian/vegan options in the barn, and a campfire.  

Sunday’s full Drag Bingo Brunch features multiple queens, plus a fully catered meal WITH bottomless mimosas.  Tips are always appreciated and encouraged, so bring that cash.  All proceeds from the Drag Brunch go to Kentucky Fried Sisters.  

Day pass options are available for local residents who want to attend the charity drag brunch on Sunday morning.  Day pass tickets can be purchased at www.queersinthecountry.com.  Anyone interested in attending any of Saturday’s programming or discussions is encouraged to email info@queersinthecountry.com.

After the Drag Brunch if you’re not ready for a midday nap in the camper, Sunday’s events are topped off with an open mic session and outdoor/lawn leisure activities.  Party-goers will have the evening free to mingle and ogle each other’s vans.

Megan Bloomer, owner of Stonehouse at Silver Creek is honored to host the inaugural event and hope to make it a yearly meet-up.

“I’m most excited about bringing together an entire demographic and community who don’t feel safe here.  We’ve heard comments from queer nomads who’ve said, ‘I would never come to Kentuky, I would never be safe there.’  I want people to see how beautiful Kentucky is.  I want them to see we do exist in rural places, it just might look different than their previous experience.  Hopefully we will open some hearts and minds.”

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