Since 1976, America’s Bicentennial Year, Cherry Grove drag queens have invaded The Pines. The Invasion has become an annual event, now attracting spectators from Long Island, where once it was mostly a local happening.
The story of how The Invasion began goes as follows. A drag queen named Patsy came to The Pines from Cherry Grove, a neighboring community on Fire Island, in July of 1976. She was turned away at the Pavilion, the local disco bar because its owner, John Whyte, did not think it proper to serve drag queens in his establishment.
After Patsy left and returned to Cherry Grove, she and her drag queen friends wanted revenge for the insult visited upon Patsy. They decided to ‘invade’ The Pines on the Fourth of July. They reasoned that a group of drag queens — and their money — could not be ignored and would not be turned away. They hired a water taxi and descended on the more chic Fire Island Pines. History does not record what happened when they showed up en masse. We do know that they and their ‘descendants’ have been showing up ever since. And today not only are they served drinks but when a drag queen enters the Sip n Twirl bar in The Pines she drinks for free! How times have changed.
The Invasion has become a bay side costume party, enjoyed by many and the number of participants has grown steadily.
In addition to flying Old Glory, it is a common custom in The Pines to fly the flag of the country or the city where a guest lives; or fly the flag of your national heritage.
Not only is it fun to do this, it adds color and interest to the surroundings.
You’re a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
’neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
The first stanza from “You’re a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan
We are very patriotic in The Pines.
The American flag flutters from the flag poles of many houses.
Having the flag fly is very helpful to know from which direction the wind is blowing.
I had a great time in Fire Island. Whether your Gay or Straight, single or married you will defenitly have a great time. One thing I must say that it is very expensive. I suggest for anyone that is intrested in renting a beach house there to look in the New York Times or any other New York newspaper for listings on renting. The best thing to do is to rent a summer home for the weekend with sevral friends and that always makes the prices cheaper then just renting a house for just one person. Anyhow I will defenitly go back. Thats my buddy John waving good bye. Thanks John I had a fab time!!!