Beautiful, sparkly freaks

I looked like a carefully constructed thrift-store mess—but covered with glitter. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt more appropriately dressed for a party in my life.

Sequined, patterned, multicolored silk top. Baby-blue tutu. Green-and-black horizontal-striped tights. Blue-velvet blazer. Homemade bottlecap earrings with silly phrases, such as “Holy cow! Drink me now!”

And the kicker: bright-green, sequined strands of lights, battery operated and attached to shoulder pads.

Approaching any event in such garb is a little daunting, though. Especially when it's a dark, 45-minute drive away, in the middle of Winters farmland.

But all I saw at last Saturday's party—an annual, semisecret shindig that will remain nameless, but you should really, really look into it—were hundreds of other beautiful, sparkly freaks. Some of them danced under a neon dome to electro swing. Some crowded into a tapestry-covered barn blasting house music. Some swayed in an outdoor amphitheater to live indie, funk and jam bands.

Others huddled over a fire pit, joined drum circles, sipped pour-over coffee, and marveled at fire spinners, hula hoopers and burlesque dancers.

They were wearing all kinds of crazy things: bright-blue wigs; robot masks; LED-lit dresses; oversized fur coats; full-blown steampunk attire; fairy wings; and fuzzy, red top hats.

My housemates and I arrived at 10 p.m. The party was set to last until at least sunrise. We had tents and sleeping bags. Where to first?

We passed through the mini-Biergarten and hookah bar. We sprawled out onto a bean-bag chair in a black-light tent designated for body-paint activities. We fed one another hot, freshly fried doughnuts while a threesome unfolded just a few feet away.

Inevitably, the dome beckoned. DJ StraightNasty was spinning, and, with his mash of old-school swing, funk, circus beats and house music, he consistently creates the most reliably good time in Yolo County. There, we engaged in ecstatic, free-form dance. We climbed on top of wooden tables and waved at all of our old friends who we had, maybe, just barely forgotten about.

Because the coolest thing about this party was that it embodied a community—a group of friends and volunteers who traveled from all over California to build this farm into the area's most notorious, Burning Man-esque bash.

I hugged gloriously costumed individual after gloriously costumed individual—UC Davis students, alumni and folks I only recognized from coming to this party year after year after year.

Just after 5 a.m., we pitched our tent and settled in while the bass beat on and on. Three hours later, I awoke to a mixture of chickens clucking and people giggling. The volunteers probably never went to sleep at all—they'd already lined up for coffee, vegan breakfast burritos and fruit salad. They picked up stray bottles and dismantled stages, chipper as ever.

Then, I spotted one of my former college roommates, crawling into her own tent for the first time. My heart felt sad that the event was fleeting. My mind raced ahead to the possibilities of March 2015.

But more than anything else, my body ached angrily at my life decisions. I relented and curled into a ball again—now coated in equal parts of dirt and glitter.