Anatomy of a Fantabulon

Just what goes on at an average Fantabulon? Many things! The party typically starts Friday evening and goes all the way through early Sunday afternoon.

Friday

People’s availability for Friday night can vary wildly, and with traffic, the trip up to Fantabulon can take over three hours. As such, attendance during the first night is often a bit lower, although those who make it up earlier often land themselves a coveted bed. (The cabin where Fantabulon is hosted used to be able to sleep up to eleven people in actual beds, but with up to 25 people spending the night, most are ending up on air mattresses or in sleeping bags.) Due to the smaller crowd, we often get pizza or grill hot dogs for a small, easy dinner to complement the snacks. The bar is fully open and the photo booth is switched on (there’s usually a display near the dance floor or bar area), but the outfits are reserved for Saturday night. Perhaps because it tends to be the dedicated Fantabulonistas who are actually present, Friday night always seems to be wilder than what one might expect, especially given that we tell people that the “real” party is on Saturday night.

Saturday

For some of us (like me), Saturday starts with a hangover, which is quickly followed by a coffee cake breakfast and maybe a little hair of the dog in the form of mimosas. Depending on whether it’s a winter or summer Fantabulon, there’s either some post-breakfast downtime (often filled with board games (Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne seem to be perennial favorites) and ideally playing around in the snow—quite the novelty for the average Angeleno) or everyone gets ready to head over to the lake for the day (assuming a summer thunderstorm doesn’t force us inside). The bar doesn’t really open up until after dinner, but there’s a small selection of beers for those allergic to water.

Unfortunately, the world’s best Tex-Mex restaurant closed, so dinner just isn’t the same. Then again, I find it best not to gorge myself right before putting on my traditional party outfit of short shorts and a mesh tank top. As night begins to fall, costumes are donned, the photo booth starts up, music starts to play (a good playlist is critical!), and the liquor starts to flow freely again. If someone’s had, having, or going to have a birthday within a few days of the event, this is typically when cake (invariably from the Jensen’s bakery) will be served. The night usual involves a mixture of conversation, dancing, double Jenga, photo booth shenanigans, and more that somehow can run until as late as dawn. If you’re planning to go to bed early, bring earplugs and maybe a sleep mask.

Sunday

Aside from the second hangover, Sunday is pretty easy. After the debacle of the first Fantabulon’s waffles and pancakes and eggs and bagels and cereal Sunday brunch, a simple spread of lox (usually homemade—thanks, Billy!) and bagels with a pitcher or two of mimosas has become one of the more established traditions. Beds are made, goodbyes are said, and people are usually sent home with a bag of trash (we don’t have garbage service up there) and hopefully a few fond memories. Decorations that took weeks of preparation are taken down in a matter of hours, and everything is packed away for possible use in the future.

Fear not, for like James Bond, Fantabulon will return, but unlike the aforementioned movie franchise, the next installment is usually only about six months away.