At Summer Camp, you can fly your freak flag — just don’t do it naked.
In separate incidences last weekend, two nude men prompted police attention: one for causing a disturbance, the other for causing an accident.
Not that skin is a rarity at Summer Camp. I haven’t attended in a couple of years, but I cannot forget the sight (though I’ve tried) of a farmer who likes to come each year clad in a tutu, but doesn’t take particular care to make sure everything is adequately tucked underneath.
Also, there’s an annual visitor known as The Naked Guy, who spends much of his time drinking beer, says Joe Needham, chief deputy for the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office. The Naked guy is hard to miss, as he is rather portly, though he’s actually not entirely naked.
“He’s a blob in a thong,” Needham says.
So, though garment deficiencies aren’t necessarily a problem at Summer Camp, this year nudity was involved in two police matters.
At 11:15 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s office was called to the medical tent regarding a naked man. According to a deputy’s report, security staff had escorted the man to the tent “numerous times throughout the day.” But each time, he had been “medically cleared” and allowed to return to the event. The report doesn’t specify whether he was allowed to leave the tent naked, but that’s the way he spent much of the day.
He “had jumped on numerous stages throughout the day at the music festival and had to be restrained each time,” the report stated. “ … Every time the male was restrained, he was completely naked and in a crowd of thousands.”
But the last straw occurred late Saturday, at the Sunshine Stage. Amid thousands of others, the man was lying on the ground, so security staff helped him to his feet, the report stated. He wasn’t completely naked: according to the report, he was wearing a “green, two-liter bottle” — as a loincloth, so to speak.
To a deputy, a security manager called the man’s actions as “alarming and disturbing” — not, I’d say, an easy threshold to reach amid the rampant weirdness at Summer Camp — and asked for his ejection from the event, the report stated. The deputy cuffed the somewhat-naked man, who refused to divulge his identity. According to the report, the man said, “I don’t have a name.”
No clothes, no name, no excuse. That’s no way to go through life, son.
Anyway, he was taken to the county jail and booked on charges of disorderly conduct, public indecency and obstructing identity, all misdemeanors. After some checking, police determined the man to be Dante Childers, 29, of Dillsboro, Ind.
(I’m not sure what they do for fun in Dillsboro, home to 1,327 residents, most of whom probably wear clothes in public. Then again, I’ve never been there, so who knows what weekends are like in Dillsboro. But it’s probably not too much of a wild-and-crazy place, as its website brags of “residents who enjoy ... new sidewalks and drainage.” But all that thrilling infrastructure apparently was not enjoyable enough to stop at least one resident from grabbing a bottle of soda and zipping off to Summer Camp.)
After posting $100 bail, Childers was released from jail, but not naked. The jail keeps extra garments for inmates who need decent (or any) clothes.
In another naked-related case, deputies were called early Saturday to Illinois Route 29, in front of Three Sister Park. A 15-year-old Peoria girl, driving on a learner’s permit with her father in the passenger seat, was returning from the Chicago area in a car bought for her hours before. Southbound on Route 29, they spotted vehicles stopped and swerving in front of them, according to a deputy’s report. The car slowed to almost a stop when THUMP.
Witnesses told police that a nude man — later identified as a 39-year-old Summer Camp attendee from Michigan — had been darting back and forth across the roadway. Though most cars missed him, the teen wasn’t as lucky. The impact of the naked man dented the hood and cracked the windshield, the report stated.
The man suffered no life-threatening injuries, police said. However, the report stated, he was taken to OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center after “he said he took a lot of ‘shrooms.” The hospital said he was in good condition Wednesday afternoon.
Though the investigation continues, neither the driver nor the naked man has yet been cited with any charges.
Is there a moral to these stories? There might be some underlying issues, but keeping your clothes on might be a good start.
PHIL LUCIANO is a Journal Star columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/philluciano and (309) 686-3155. Follow him on Twitter.com/LucianoPhil.