Go Girl! Saugatuck Celebrates Women’s Weekend at Nation’s Largest Gay Resort

Event features workshops, beach vibes and a focus on community-building

Women hearing the siren call of Lake Michigan may want to mark May 31-June 2 on their calendars. Those are the days that the largest gay resort in the country will host its annual women’s weekend event, a sapphic party called Go Girl! Saugatuck, now in its seventh year.

Taking place at The Dunes resort, Go Girl! was born when Mimi Gonzalez approached the owners about booking a comedy show. Mike Jones, one of three owners, offered her the Cabaret but said what they really needed was someone to book a women’s weekend.

Gonzalez said she’d look for someone. Turns out, the person she found was herself. 

“Sometimes life does that to you,” Gonzalez told Pride Source. “It says, here’s your opportunity and you’re the one who’s supposed to do this. That’s why it’s coming right to your feet.”

(Clockwise from top left) Mimi Gonzalez, Oshun Hathor, Yoli Mayor. Courtesy photos
(Clockwise from top left) Mimi Gonzalez, Oshun Hathor, Yoli Mayor. Courtesy photos

Metro Detroiters making the 192-mile trek to the resort situated two miles from Lake Michigan will be treated to an event that throws the doors open to everyone on the LGBTQ+ or feminine spectrum. 

“I’m really bent on radical inclusion,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve spent a lot of my life as a Latina, lesbian-identifying bisexual woman of color. I have found myself excluded far more often than I’ve been included… Everybody on the gender and sexuality spectrum is welcome at this women’s weekend. Ninety percent of the people I pay are women of color.”

“Inclusion is one of the best ingredients in our secret sauce,” Gonzalez said.

All events take place at The Dunes, but there are nearby hotels to accommodate those who aren’t able to stay at the resort. The annual event coincides this year with Saugatuck/Douglas Pride.

Featured performers include:

  • Yoli Mayor, the “Cuban Adele”
  • Tamale Rocks and Safety Third
  • Reigning GoGirl! Showgirl Oshun Hathor
  • Author and motivational speaker Graci Harkema
  • Poet C.C. Carter
  • Chicago DJ Gloria

“I stuffed the days full of activities, workshops, pool parties, DJs, ending with an open mic Gospel of You brunch,” Gonzalez said. “This year we’re adding the intergenerational panel that Crowded Table Productions created and produced in November in Lansing.”

Tamale Sepp, the founder of Tamale Rocks and a self-described “skydiving moto babe, mother of spaniels,” has performed several times at Go Girl! Sagutuck.

“Mimi creates a really inclusive and exciting environment for people to participate in,” Sepp said. “She’s always looking for what is going to wow her guests. She brings in really great talent from different places and musical guests that are of the community and would be something that the community would want to see.”

This will be motivational speaker Graci Harkema’s fifth year of attending Go Girl! Saugatuck. A group of her friends from Grand Rapids were going and she thought it would be an opportunity to meet other women in the LGBTQ+ community and have some fun beyond just drinking at a bar.

“I was really drawn to go for a weekend with all the activities and the opportunity for connection with others and the opportunity to make new friends,” Harkema said. “Some of the folks that I met during that first year, I’m still friends with to this day.”

Gonzalez said it is important to her that she puts together a weekend that makes the most of people’s vacation dollars. She wants them to have a wide variety of choices. 

“There are workshops that teach writing and masc of center,” said Gonzalez, who also listed real estate and retirement, women veterans and their benefits, hula hoop, yoga, drumming — "a lot of the trifectas of lesbian entertainment."

"I want to cater to many tastes," she added. "Women are spending good money to have a good time.”

She seeks out variety in the entertainers, looking for unusual talents including acrobatics and fire-eating.

Sepp, whose show encompasses not just her talents but those of the friends with whom she performs, choreographs a multidisciplinary act designed to create a stunning finale. She’ll road trip from New York to Saugatuck, picking up her drag king friends along the way.

“We’re going to caravan to Go Girl! and have ourselves a good time,” Sepp said. “We practice remotely and then we show up and have a blast. We’re going to bring some excitement to the table and [the weekend] has a bunch of other great performers as well.”

Sepp lives in her van with her dogs and her motorcycle, a lifestyle that she said allows her to claim all towns as her hometown. It’s also one that she said has opened doors to a variety of pastimes, from sky diving to drag and burlesque. Her background is in gender performance, but she’s also done circus work. 

Harkema will read from the book that made her a bestselling author, a memoir called “Rising: From the Mud Hut to the Boardroom and Back Again.”

“I’m a 37-year-old, Black, queer female and when my book came out, I realized how important it is that we have representation,” Harkema said. “Of all the published authors in the U.S., less than six percent of them are Black and only 15 percent of them identify as LGBTQ. So being able to bring that intersectionality of an author and being able to share my narrative and my journey with others might help inspire others.” 

Harkema says the event attracts a strong contingency of people from Detroit. “What’s beautiful about this weekend is just coming together,” Harkema said. “It’s very diverse and very inclusive. You’re going to see folks of all ages over the age of 21 and from different geographical backgrounds, different races, ethnicities, different orientations and sexual identities. It’s just the time to come together.”

According to Harkema, it's the perfect mini-vacation for Midwesterners.

“We don’t have to go to Florida or New York for some weekend fun,” Harkema said. “For just a few hours in the car — or less than a few hours — we can be in this place that feels like it is much further away, but is more accessible.”

Gonzalez points out there are plenty of beautiful parks nearby and said they often end up walking the beaches collecting rocks on the final Sunday. Importantly, the entire community is queer-friendly.

“It’s gorgeous and there are so many activities,” Gonzalez said. “There are hikes, boating, kayaks, paddle boats, bike trails and free beaches. There’s so much to see naturally and, because it’s such an art community, there is so much culture there. Most of it is queer-supported and queer-created culture.”

Wrist bands are available for the entire weekend or for one-day passes, starting at $20 for just the Sunday brunch, $100 for Friday or Saturday and $145 for the whole weekend. Room reservations are separate.

“Go Girl! Saugatuck is an intersectional, intergenerational good time,” Sepp said. “I would invite people to come for a day or the whole weekend, but come and enjoy the performances, the DJs, the workshops, the pool parties. Come with an open mind and be prepared to have some fun.”


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