SisterSpace 35th Anniversary Details Announced

The women's festival to host a tea dance at ICandy in anticipating of the popular three-day weekend

SisterSpace Weekend, one of the longest-running women’s festivals in the country, may not be kicking off its three days of art, music and education until Sept. 7, but the organizers are sponsoring a fundraiser next month – The Lavender Menace: A Women’s Tea Dance – on March 31 (5 – 9 p.m.) at ICandy where revelers will have a chance to support the cause and have a little fun with other like-minded lesbian feminists.

Courtesy of Mimi Gonzales

SisterSpace Weekend is one of the longest running women’s festivals in the country – and this year it’s celebrating it’s 35th anniversary. Beginning with only a small group of women converging for what was then called the “Lesbian Feminist Weekend” in the Pocono Mountains in 1977 for mostly self-defense workshops, the festival now attracts hundreds of women annually to hear female musicians, attend workshops, swim, hike and connect with each other. This year the festival will feature such performers as Voices of Africa and comedian Mimi Gonzalez (we met her in Provincetown a few years ago at the since defunct Vixen).

“At the open mic, I actually got up and performed one of my original poems which is something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the guts,” says one attendee. “I was inspired by all the other talented women sharing and I did it and I got a lot of support and great feedback from everyone and I feel so good about it.”

Women’s music festivals rose to their heights in the 1970s as a welcomed alternative to the bars, coffeehouses and protest marches of the time. Over the years, the event grew – and it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the current location was settled upon at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD., just a short distance from the Susquehanna River. A few of this year’s sponsors include Giampolo Law Group, Mazzoni Center, Tabu, Tavern on Camac and Janet L. Gold.

“SisterSpace is a family,” says Geri Mars, a SisterSpace organizer. “Many of us grew up together and have watched one another evolve along with the weekend. Each year is like a family reunion.”

For this anniversary year, SisterSpace is planning a series of events to reconnect with women who have been a part of the organization’s history and invite new women to join. “I hope all women who have been a part of our past and those who want to be part of our future plan to attend the weekend to help us continue the tradition and celebrate a very special 35 years,” says Jordan Pascucci, president of SisterSpace. Tickets go on sale in May and prices are on a sliding scale based on income and desired accommodations.

The Lavender Menace: A Women’s Tea Dance, March 31, 5 – 9 p.m., iCandy, 254 S. 12th St., 888-294-1110.