Barely Know What to Do for Valentine's Day?
Sick of the same old thing? Try your local nudist park
Weather permitting, Cedar Creek offers no-clothing events
Tim McManus – The Daily Gamecock
February 13, 2006
SOUTH CAROLINA -- Are you tired of all this Valentine's Day commercialism? Are you looking for something simpler, something more stripped down, so to speak?
Leesville nudist park Cedar Creek, about an hour from Columbia, hosted a nudist Valentine's Day party Saturday.
The party consisted of a beach music band playing classic tunes and middle-aged men and women dancing badly but having a lot of fun.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the nudist Valentine's Day party was the amount of people clothed, which was nearly all of them.
They explained this phenomenon with an old joke: "What do nudists do when it gets cold?" The answer: "They put on clothes."
John Shaw, who owns Cedar Creek along with his wife, Susan Peyne, reflected on this topic by saying, "We're nudists, not idiots."
Eventually, some people disrobed, but most of them quickly got dressed after the door opened, letting in the February air. Shaw said nudists call those who wear clothes, "Textile People."
Shaw and his wife purchased the park in 2000 after the first owner, who started the park in 1989, left. Shaw said that the original owner started Cedar Creek because he was a nudist and wanted "a place where other nudists could come and enjoy themselves (which he could) run as a business."
Shaw added that he and his wife are also out to make money. "My wife and I are both nudists, but that's secondary," said Shaw. "We run it as a profit-making business."
While his first visit to a nudist park was over 20 years ago, Shaw and his wife have been nudists for only "eight or nine years," he said.
"She was the one who was interested in trying it. I had been to them before, knowing that it's no big deal."
Shaw says there is a difference between a nudist facility and a clothing-optional facility.
"'Clothing-optional' is not a PC way to say 'nudist party,'" he said. "Clothing-optional means you can be dressed or can not be dressed."
"This is a nudist facility," he said. "Weather permitting, you must be nude."
Shaw says nudists wear clothing as the environment dictates. They don't go nude in inclement weather or in a setting where nudism is not appropriate, such as work.
"One of the people, years ago, here made the mistake of trying to fry bacon naked," Shaw said. "You don't do that."
Shaw mentioned two national nudist organizations, the American Association for Nude Recreation and The Naturist Society, which he called primarily "political lobbying groups."
"You have to be constantly on the alert for local and state governments wanting to pass anti-nudity or anti-adult entertainment ordinances that could impact family-oriented nudist facilities," he said.
While the original owner was in charge of Cedar Creek, Lexington County was passing anti-sex-oriented ordinances. The original owner sent people to the hearings and county supervisors eventually amended the ordinances to say that facilities such as Cedar Creek are exempt.
One of Cedar Creek's more widely known accomplishments is Nudestock, a three-day concert that attracts nudists from all over the Southeast, and even from as far away as Hawaii.
The event usually features seven or eight bands. While the bands' members are not nudists, they are certainly welcome to perform nude, said Shaw. He's never been able to find any nudist bands, he said, although he added that he's sure they exist somewhere.
Another well-known event that Cedar Creek sponsors is the 5K run-walk. All proceeds from this event go towards the Pelion Branch Library in Pelion, S.C.
"This past year they were able to buy outside benches that people can sit on with the proceeds they got from us," Shaw said. "They're very grateful that we took them on as a charity."