Brother Help Thyself -- the local alliance of leather, Levi, drag, bear and fetish communities, that for nearly 30 years has been helping gay-related charities -- is gearing up for its 12th annual King's Dominion outing this Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It's the fifth since BHT switched to a nighttime event in 2003.
''The doors open to us at 8 p.m.,'' explains BHT President JoAnn Kokindo. ''We have, basically, exclusive use of the park. It's just us. All the rides that are working are open.''
Attractions at the Doswell, Va., amusement park, about 20 miles north of Richmond, include a variety of rides, from the classic, wooden Rebel Yell rollercoaster to the terrifying Hypersonic XLC -- 0 to 80 in less than two seconds; from the leisurely Blue Ridge Tollway antique-car track, to a 3-D experience with SpongeBob SquarePants.
Participants from 2006 Gay and Lesbian Night at Kings Dominion
''We started this not as a fundraiser, but as a community service, to get people together to celebrate. But it has turned into a very nice fundraiser as attendance has increased,'' says Kokindo, citing an attendance figure of more than 2,000 people last year. ''This year, I think we're going to expect far more.''
In addition to the standard amusement-park fare from 8 to 11 p.m., the BHT experience includes a DJ-fueled party along the park's main-entrance stretch, International Street. This year, DJ Jason -- Jason Horswill, who spins locally at Green Lantern and Chaos, occasionally as DJ Lady Coco -- will man the turntables.
''It will be very high energy,'' promises Horswill, who also carries the title of Miss BHT 2004. ''Mostly, what I spin is progressive house, electronic and a bit of tribal. But very vocal -- screaming queens.''
Though he's due to set up his equipment at 8 p.m., with music running from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., Horswill says he's hopeful he'll get a moment to sneak off for a ride or two.
''I love roller coasters, especially the Volcano,'' he says, referring to the coaster that shoots riders out of -- you guessed it -- a manufactured volcano.
Kokindo, on the other hand, has more pedestrian pursuits, like a plate of fried chicken, in mind. ''I'm not a ride person. I cannot even look at a merry-go-round without getting sick.''
BHT's Annual Gay and Lesbian Night will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 to 11 p.m. at King's Dominion. Advance tickets, $27, are available online at www.KingsDominion.com, by entering company ID ''GAYNIGHT.'' Advance tickets are also available at Lambda Rising bookstores, and at Green Lantern on Thursday, Sept. 13. Tickets at the gate are $30.