April 10, 2018 3:08 pm
Updated: April 11, 2018 4:07 pm

Stone Mills denies naturist ranch permit for clothing-optional festival

The Freedom Fields Naturist Ranch in Tamworth was denied a permit to host Hyperboria, a festival that allows people to attend in the buff.

Hyperboria
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Correction notice:

The original story states that the Hyperborea event had been barred by the Stone Mills Township council. In fact, the council only denied an event permit to the Freedom Fields Naturist Ranch in Tamworth to host Hyperborea. CKWS has since learned that the council offered up a plot of land north of Camden East for the festival to take place.

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Bonfires, tents and camping – sounds like a typical summer festival, but at the contested Hyperborea event planned to run in Stone Mills Township, clothing is optional.

The festival, which was first hosted last May at Freedom Fields Naturist Ranch in Tamworth, was discussed at the Township’s council meeting on April 9. It was supposed to be held at the ranch again this year, but the event wasn’t too popular among local residents.

It’s been very uncomfortable the past year, to say the least,” Stone Mills resident, Erin Dennison said. 

READ MORE: Edmonton naturist group invites Calgarians to its naked swim event

Problems Dennison and other residents had with the first Hyperborea included the fact that alcohol was permitted on festival grounds while minors were present, along with loud music and the fear that large fires would spread to the nearby forest.

There’s also the issue of a lack of clothing by festival goers.

“We’ve run into the odd [nude] person on Kelly Road, and it’s just not right,” Dennison said. “I have a nephew and my children, and I don’t really want them seeing that.”

Dennison isn’t the only person in Stone Mills who feels that way, and its council voted Monday to deny the ranch’s request to host a second annual gathering next month.

READ MORE: Calgary Nude Recreation to host naked swim event in Calgary after backlash, cancellation

“There’s just so much hostility in the neighbourhood,” Stone Mills Township Coun. John Wise said. “I’m really concerned that if that event took place there some unfortunate violent event could happen.”

Nevertheless, Wise said that the Stone Mills has nothing against the event, and has offered up a 400-acre lot north of Camden East for the festival to take place. Wise said that the organizers of Hyperboria are looking into the property, and that he’s hopeful the event will take place there this year.

“This land is quite isolated,” Wise said. If the event took place there, there would be little chance for residents to run into someone who might be in the nude, according to the councillor.

CKWS tried several time to reach Freedom Field Naturist Ranch, but they refused to comment. Wise said that at the same meeting, the owner of Freedom Fields requested the farm be rezoned from residential to commercial, which would allow them to run a nude-friendly campground and to host events like Hyperborea.

Council is reviewing that request but no date has been set to discuss it.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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