4 min

9 great summer events for women

From Greek island antics to steamy Florida fiestas

The steamy and social Womenfest is an annual September event in Key West. Credit: Aefa Mulholland

Summer has finally hit and things are heating up. On top of the incredible social smorgasbord for women that’s on offer during summer’s plethora of Pride celebrations, there’s also a captivating collection of women’s events happening around the world, from Greek island antics to steamy Florida fiestas, plus some serious opportunities to carouse in Canada.

1.  WorldPride Dyke March
June 28, 2014
One of the biggest all-round  — not just LGBT — events ever to hit a city, the gargantuan WorldPride takes over Toronto from June 20 to 29. The Saturday afternoon Dyke March will stride along Carlton Street and up Yonge Street: a huge, colourful procession of women on foot, on bikes, on scooters and on top of the world. That night the party continues at Cherry Bomb Pride: Out of This World at the Mod Club. Get your tickets early for this one at Glad Day or Soundscapes — it’s going to be the hottest night of the Toronto women’s summer calendar.

2.  Girl Splash
Provincetown, Massachussets
July 22–26, 2014
Just one of the five fantastic women’s events that happen in this LGBT-adored Cape Cod town each year, Girl Splash has a hectic calendar of daily dance parties already lined up, from the opening kickoff party and Friday’s tea dance and deck party, all the way to the closing White Party on the Sunday night. Spend your days exploring the dunes, schmoozing on a schooner as it sails past Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, going on an all-women’s whale watch, or mingling with the many, many women to be found roaming the colourful streets of P’town, and spend your nights at a bonfire in the dunes or on the dancefloor.

3.  LaDIYfest
Aug 1–3, 2014
A spinoff from the original LadyFest events, this alternative women’s and trans festival takes a hands-on, open-to-all approach to entertainment. Last year’s event started off with a vegan barbecue at the Tempelhofer Feld, an abandoned airport, where barbecue sites are tucked between runways. It’s definitely a unique spot to grill tofu. Along with the array of film nights, concerts, parties and live music on the schedule, this fest stands out from the crowd with options that include drumming lessons and haircuts. Cutting edge, indeed.

4.  Lesbomonde Reunion
Aug 2, 2014
Following up on 2013’s event, which was without doubt the best ladies’ beach party in Canada, held on the sands of the St Lawrence River, this year Lesbomonde covers up and heads indoors for this super-hot girl party on the islands of the St Lawrence. Details are still to come, but book early for this one.

5.  Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival
Hart, Michigan
Aug 5–10, 2014
Depending on the weather, Michigan can be equal parts mud and music, but the six-day extravaganza is always an amazing experience that attracts nearly 10,000 women to 650 wooded acres in the state’s northwest. Affinity groups abound, with activities and workshops for pretty much any interest you can dream up. Daytime programming tends to offer music and comedy, early evening acts include theatre and dinnertime dramatics, while the night stage boasts the big draws, with this year’s heroines including Elvira Kurt, Bitch and Melissa Ferrick. Presumably, Jewish lesbians won’t want to miss the Isle of Klezbos all-women klezmer sextet.

6.  FemiFest 2014
London, UK
Aug 30 & 31, 2014
Women-only, feminist antics take the podium at this political festival in East London. Open to all women-identified people raised as girls, events are aimed at feminist activists, writers and creatives. Events include comedy, live music performances, speakers and workshops.

7.  Womenfest
Key West, Florida
Sept 4–7, 2014
The tropical island delight of Key West, the southernmost point in the continental US, puts on this steamy social booking every September. A wonderfully walkable island, dotted with six- and seven-toed cats and free-roaming chickens, Key West is a quirky wee place with a decidedly LGBT ambiance and a character all its own. It even proclaims itself The Conch Republic, although everyone’s too laid-back to actually make any serious efforts toward independence. Highlights of Womenfest include eco tours, jet skiing, snorkelling and dolphin-watching trips, golfing among the palm trees, drag shows, yoga, speed dating, karaoke, comedy, cocktail parties, concerts and contests. The Bourbon Street Pub, an LGBT mecca, has a hectic itinerary, including the Beach Blanket Butch and Babe Bash, complete with tiki bar and hot tub, and the Burly Burlesque Show, while women-owned resort Pearl’s puts on the pool parties and Itsy Bitsy Bikini Contests.

8.  Shedonism
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sept 4–8, 2014
Taking over the Rumors all-suite boutique resort, this weekend-long celebration is Sin City’s most alluring women’s event. Parties by day and night, pop stars, comedy, poker and a parade are just some of the enticements on the table for those who want to strike out for Nevada this September.

9.  14th International Eressos Women’s Festival
Skala Eressos, Lesbos, Greece
Sept 6–20, 2014
Workshops and walks, massages and reiki, art and photography workshops and exhibitions, outings and safaris, plus the company of women from all over the world are just some of the draws of this event at the ultimate lesbian destination. Folk music from Greece, Turkey and other areas of the Mediterranean lines up alongside DJ nights, fashion shows, open-air cinema showings and rock-climbing demos. Run by Sappho Women, this is definitely the only women’s festival on this list that offers the opportunity to learn how to master Greek dancing.