A Review of SwingStock
A Review of SwingStock
by Janie and John
Somewhere in MN: For those of us that enjoy the great outdoors a long weekend of camping is wonderful. However, add to it the experience of sharing that long weekend with hundreds of couples who are a part of the lifestyle then, put that weekend in a private and discreet setting and, well, it might not add up to heaven but it’s darned close!!!
Those who have attended Swingstock in the past know what I am talking about. Janie and I have just returned from Swingstock. As before, it was an exceptional experience. This was our second trip to the annual event and it won’t be our last. In fact, Swingstock has earned a place in our list of ‘must do’s’ every summer. It ranks as one of our Lifestyle highlights of the year.
Now, I admit, when we contemplated our first Swingstock experience last year I was more than a little concerned. After, all, this event is held in Minnesota! Everyone knows that the Minnesota state bird, the Mosquito, can be a pretty ferocious during the summer time. Most swing events I have attended don’t lend themselves to wearing a lot of clothing and the idea of kissing a beautiful body covered in N-diethylmetatoluamide (that’s Deep Woods bug spray for the less technical folks) just didn’t seem erotic to me. Further, given some of the physical positions one finds themselves in to do that kissing leaves more than enough of my own territory exposed to attack! That appealed even less! Well, the good news is that both years, for that middle weekend in July, the gods of field and stream smiled on us. The mosquitoes took a vacation! (With a little help from the support folks from Club-H and some real good foggers!)
Swingstock is held at a private campground within 1 1/2 hours driving time of Minneapolis. This isn’t a low rent campground in the middle of a field somewhere folks. It is a commercial campground that operates through out the year with all the amenities. But, for one weekend in July it has a special occupancy….Swingers from all over the United States. There is no way in or out except through one gate under the watchful eye of ever present event security. No one enters without the Swingstock armband issued to every participant at registration. This allows for the ‘clothing optional’ environment through out the camping area.
The camping area is well arranged with areas for every type of RV from Motor Home to Pup Tent…AND, you will see everything in that category there. Last year, one couple put their Pontoon boat on a trailer and brought it there to use as a camper!!! Activities are all conducted out of Party Central, which is centrally located in the camping area. As a result, there isn’t a ‘bad’ campsite in the entire place.
Being the ever practical person, I had some initial concerns about such necessities of life as toilets and showers. And, given the fact that a quick perusal of the campground facilities revealed that there were only 3 showers in the shower room, I quickly calculated that the line for the showers would reach half way back to Minneapolis.
Foolish boy that I was!! The folks at Swingstock have this little problem solved in true Lifestyle fashion. Open air showers! There were eight of them to be precise, placed on an elevated wooden platform. No, there are no shower stalls and no men’s and women’s side. A single platform with shower heads positioned around the perimeter! Initially, the idea didn’t seem all that grand….until we got to thinking….showering out in the wide open with 7 other people…hmmmmmm….do I need to draw you a picture?? And you know, the good thing about it was you could get clean too!!! Of course, you can still use the camps showers if you want but……..they aren’t nearly as much fun! There were some struggles with hot water this year. There just wasn’t enough. A vendor didn’t meet his commitments and as a result, Glenn and Toni had to bring in replacements at the last minute. However, I am sure that by next year Glenn and Toni will have this little plumbing problem fixed!
Through out the campground you will find numerous vendors. You can purchase (and in some cases try out) just about anything you want. You will find everything from Incense to Hot Tubs, Gensing to Lingerie. Everyone was courteous and from what we could tell, all were a part of the Lifestyle themselves. It really was worth the trip if for no reason than to wander around the campground, visiting the vendors and looking at all the different decorated campsites. BUT, you KNOW that isn’t all we went for!
This year, Swingstock came in two flavors. The standard, which began on Friday and ran through Sunday and an extended version which added an additional day, starting on Thursday. Being the dedicated campers we are, we opted to arrive on Thursday. Immediately, we noticed a significant improvement over last year. Instead of long registration lines we moved quickly through the registration process and out to our campsite. The time from arrival to backing into our site was reduced from an hour and a half last year to 20 minutes this year. Our campsite was level, electricial and water hook ups were easily accessible. We were located such that we could walk out our door and see Party Central and the central stage from our ‘yard’.
The festivities began on Thursday night with a Dance. Now, admittedly, dancing on grass in sandals is an adventure. Especially if those sandals happen to be thongs and every time you take a step back, you back right out of your shoes! On the other hand, no one ever claimed to be Fred Astair and the dance got the weekend off to a great start. The dances run until 11:00 PM after which there is one of the hottest campfires I have ever seen and trust me, the temperature of the area had nothing to do with the heat of the flames!
Friday, brought another influx of people with the arrival of those that had selected the standard version of Swingstock. The afternoon was filled with getting to know new folks that had arrived that day, a topless sand volleyball tournament, a tube float trip on the river and the evening dance with campfire following.
We couldn’t help but be struck by the demographics of the people attending Swingstock. At last report there were people there from 38 different states as well as Canada, Jamaica and China. There were several large, organized groups representing Swing Clubs in St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines and Minneapolis, all vying for the unofficial title of ‘Best Swing Club in the Midwest’. The age distribution seems to be pretty evenly spread across the spectrum.
Saturday morning found everyone waking to the smell of breakfast cooking. On Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning, the fine support staff from the sponsoring club, Club H provided excellent meals and an opportunity to get to know more new folks sitting around the table.
Saturday afternoon was filled with contests and other opportunities to get ‘better acquainted’. There was Nude Twister, (a bit of a challenge after the color mat was greased with baby oil and water!!), Body Painting, Body Lathering…(finding your partner blind folded provided more than a few laughs!) nude volley ball, sensual massage, and the list could go on. There was something there for everyone. At the same time, it was a completely no pressure environment and if you wanted, you could sleep in the shade of the ‘old oak tree’ all afternoon and go to bed at 8:00 PM if you wanted!
Saturday evening the folks from Club H provided an excellent barbeque which was followed by the weekends recognition activities including, prize drawings, contests for the best buns and best chest (both men and women) as well as the best campsite and the crowning of the Swingstock King and Queen. After all the recognition was completed the final dance of the weekend started.
I suspect that by this time every one had realized that while technically, Swingstock goes on until 4:00 PM on Sunday afternoon, the next morning would bring the clang of tent poles together, as well as many hugs and farewells as people packed and headed out on long journeys home. As a result, there was a sense of finality in the air. The firelight provided by the Tiki Torches that surrounded the dance area; the Helium balloons that hung in the air; the smoke machine provided by Todd and Steph of Off Nights (who also served as DJ’s for the event) all provided a surreal atmosphere as the beat of the music grew stronger and the clothes began to come off. The evenings activities were the hottest we have ever seen at a swing event anywhere!
As the dance came to a close, we had been invited by some new friends to be a part of a farewell campfire at the other end of the campground. As we walked down the campground road Tiki Torches on both sides lite our way. The black sky above was filled with twinkling stars. All over the campground you could see the blinking, colored lights that had decoratedcampsites for the entire weekend. In the distance, somewhere in the campground, a stereo was playing a sensuous jazz ballad. On both sides of the road, RVs and tents emitted the sounds of passion as people said farewell in that special way that only folks in the lifestyle can understand. Oh Yeah!!!
A beautiful close to a wonderful weekend! Only at Swingstock!!! We can’t wait until the next Swingstock!!!