A Day in the Life at Firefly Gathering

Whether its your first time or your fifteenth, this slice-of-life will help orient you to a week off the grid with us and get a few things on your preliminary pack list!

If you’ve never been to The Annual Firefly Gathering, you may be wondering what a week off the grid learning skills for living with Earth and community looks like. With hundreds of classes to choose from during the day, and evenings filled with live music, dancing, speakers and more, there’s a lot to get curious about! 

Read more below to get oriented to what a day in the life at Firefly looks like, and join us June 20-25th at Deerfields: register here. As always, for more detailed information & logistics, head to our nifty FAQ page.

So, what does a day at Firefly look like?

DigitalCopy GATEBOOK General Schedule 2023
Schedule Updated May 30 2023
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Mornings

Each day at Firefly, we start with morning circle around the Sunfire at 9 am. The ritual of coming together to share songs, stories, and moments of connection is an integral part of being in community. Morning circle sets the tone of the day, as well as communicating class changes and other relevant information for that day’s activities. For new arrivals that morning, hop on the Firefly Shuttle from the Satellite Parking Lot to catch morning circle, and if it’s your first Firefly, be sure to check out the First-Timers Meet-Up at the end!

From there, it’s time for your morning class, and for youth to head to Youth Village for a day of learning and play. Most folks arrive the night before the day of their pass in order to set up camp and sign up for classes starting at 7 pm. Whether you sign up the night before, or arrive the day of your pass to shuttle in and signup for classes that morning before circle, you will know the location of your class from the sign-up sheet. 

Curious about what kind of classes we offer? Our Class List for 2023 is now LIVE: check it out! With over 300 classes to choose from when all is said and done, this initial list will continue to be updated regularly as we work to finalize details and accept new instructors (please note: this list, like most things in life, remains subject to change!). 

Whether you are looking for a deeper connection to Earth, your ancestors, healthy global ecosystems, a sustainable future for humans, wilderness survival, farmsteading, an ecologically sound craft or hobby, or just a beautiful experience to share with loved ones, there will be classes for you. Check back often, and get ready to join our expert instructors this June: register here.

Afternoons

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We break for lunch at 1 pm, before afternoon classes begin at 2:30. During this time, our worktrade, staff, and elders head to the central kitchen, dedicated to feeding those who are an integral part of running the Gathering and don’t have time to feed themselves. For all other attendees, we have an awesome selection of food vendors and designated cooking areas if you don’t have your own camp kitchen gear. This year, we have offerings from The Garden, Cecilia’s Kitchen, Harvesting Health, Bears BBQ, and delicious beverages and treats from Le Bon Café and Embrew Tea. Be sure to bring cash to enjoy these offerings!

In addition to the food and beverage vendors on site, two different outdoor kitchen options are available for preparing the food you bring with you: our Primitive Kitchen with an open fire for cooking, and our Community Kitchen with propane stovetops and a sink. You are welcome to bring and use your own camp stoves at your campsite as well. Often mealtimes become a community-building experience as folks prepare food together in various camps around the land.

Sharing and thanksgiving are welcomed and encouraged at mealtime! Keep in mind, Firefly is a pack in-pack out event, with no waste disposal or refrigeration provided. Nearby convenience stores have ice for your cooler if needed.

Once your belly is full, listen for the conch to blow announcing afternoon class time (2:30 – 5:30)!

Evenings

Digitalcopy GATEBOOK Evening Entertainment Schedule 2023
Schedule Updated May 30 2023
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At Firefly, we honor our evenings together. After breaking for dinner to reconnect at the community kitchen, or enjoy our variety of food vendors (see “Afternoons” above for details!), we prepare to integrate the experiences of the day and simply enjoy being human together. As the sun sets–we celebrate! Head to the class sign-up board anytime from 7 pm onwards to get your name on the class sheets of your choice for the following day, and then it’s time to relax and play together beneath the stars.

What does a typical evening at Firefly look like? We sing along with our Elders and storytellers. We sway to the sounds of local musicians including Leah Song of Rising AppalachiaPeia, Høly River, Nata Das, The Bazouki Brothers and more. We dance ecstatically around the fire under the stars to ancient beats played out on skin drums. We play old-timey music, sing traditional Appalachian folk songs and earth centered anti-oppression heart songs. We have traditional foods served up in The Block Party in The Neighborhood. We sit in circle: sharing, listening, trading, grieving, and connecting with our ancestors. We get to know new friends, and reconnect with old ones once again. Check out the preliminary Evening schedule above, and continue to check back for updates!

After days of learning and nights of celebration, enjoy some hard-earned rest beneath the Appalachian night sky to get ready for the next day ahead. Come Sunday, we meet for one final morning circle and class, with closing circle at 1pm. At this final circle, we look toward planting the seeds of the skills, connections and empowerment that we’ve cultivated at Firefly into our home soil, to grow together on our next journeys.

 

Special Happenings: What & When

There are a few special moments we plan for each year that reach beyond the general schedule at Firefly. Read more about some of the special events that happen throughout the week to see what you might want to participate in and pack accordingly for, and as always, get ready for a few surprises while you’re there..!

Thursday: 

Trade Blanket

We offer a trade blanket in the evening for those who wish to participate in a formal & intentional exchange of hand-crafted items. This barter-style trade honors the many forms of giving and receiving beyond the dollar. Bring your hand-made offering, and see if there’s something special you want to exchange it for in this ceremonial circle. To Pack: a hand-crafted item for trade

Community Variety Show

Ready to share your talents in the spotlight? Our Community Variety show is an open performance space not to be missed, whether as a presenter or audience member! Last year, we were impressed and inspired by the beautiful offerings that emerged from the Firefly community. Share your talents, and meet fellow artists that show up for living with Earth and community. To Pack: anything you might need (instrument, poems, juggling pins, costumes, etc) for your beautiful performance…also, a night for everyone to wear our sparkly festive fun wear! 

Saturday:

Street Creature Puppet Collective Parade

Calling ALL Critters: fly in style with our Forever Flying Wild Parade, led by the fantastic Street Creature Puppet Collective! Bring your wildest winged wigged wardrobe to flap and sing in this flock of musicians, stilt walkers, drummers, giant puppets, dreamers and joy-bringers. Take off will be from Youth Village, and we’ll swoop through the heart of the Gathering to the main sun fire to call folks back to the Moon Fire field for the Bizarre Bazaar Barter Fair. To Pack: wild flying animal / winged magical creature get-ups…and sparkles!

Bizarre Bazaar Barter Fair

What handmade wares and curated trade items do you have to offer? Bring your goods and a blanket to sell/barter your offerings at our Bizarre Bazaar on Saturday night. This is always a beautiful time to honor and share the creative energy and talents that abound within the Firefly Community. To Pack: your own creative wares to sell or barter, a blanket to spread out on, cash for purchases and making change.

Raffle Drawing for Equity Fund

 

Each year we have a raffle of incredible local offerings to raise money for our Equity Fund. This fund is available to welcome and support the experience of Indigenous or Native American, Black, Latino/a/x, and other peoples of the global majority at the Annual Firefly Gathering. Learn more about our Equity efforts here, and be sure buy your raffle tickets to win something special while helping to bring more folks to Firefly! To Pack: Cash and handmade donations / services for the raffle

Whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth, we can’t wait to share all these incredible moments with you at the Annual Firefly Gathering this year. Be sure to get your passes (online sales end June 17, gate fees apply as supplies allow), and sign up for our newsletter in the footer below for the most up-to-date info and specials about the Gathering! You can also stay tuned on our Instagram and Facebook

WRITTEN BY

Firefly Gathering

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Kimberly Dunn

Finance Manager (she/her)

Having grown up in a multicultural family, Kimberly’s love for languages and traditional cultures is infused into everything she creates. After many years overseas, she now calls the Appalachian mountains her home and continues to keep the adventure alive by staying close to the wild. Kimberly is a singer songwriter, dancer, women’s circle facilitator, personal finance astrologer, bookkeeper, yoga teacher, and chef.