Shawn Joyner, is a 35 year old Atlanta resident who is the architecture behind Falltacular, a weekend retreat for gays and lesbians. It began over 10 years ago as a weekend for close friends now it attracks people from all over the nation. “I thought it was a catchy name, the retreat is in the fall season and it is “spectacular,” he said. Here’s what else he had to tell us.
PRIDEINDEX: Why did you start Falltacular?
JOYNER: Falltacular initially started 10 years ago as a birthday weekend getaway for me and my close friends. I thought it would be unique to bring my friends from across the country together for a weekend of relaxation and fun versus having a big party.The retreat eventually grew through the years. In my 5th year of doing the retreat I decided to revamp the retreat by opening it up to the public. That year I also decided not to celebrate my birthday that weekend. The first year I rented a 4 bedroom cabin and 25 people came. This year I am renting the entire resort wit approximately 300 people from 19 different states.
People enjoy Falltacular because it’s a lot of fun, inexpensive and you meet great people. People have told me that Falltacular is the best time they ever had in their lives. There is nothing like it!
PRIDEINDEX: What should one expect to see at your 2010 event?
JOYNER: Falltacular is like no other. It is unique because it brings a diverse group of professional gays and lesbians from across the United States This year will have horseback riding, a whitewater rafting excursion, an Ole’ School Field Day & BBQ, Boot camp, Lake tours, a casino trip and informative workshops scheduled during the day.
PRIDEINDEX: Any evening events?
JOYNER: In the evening the mood changes to a more festive environment. Some of the evening events are: the kickoff party hosed by Dee Franklin from Atlanta, GA. The Queens of Comedy Show hosted by Ms. Sophia featuring comedians Hope Fllood and Vanessa Fraction and live music by Neo-Soul artists N’Cambi and Kimberley Nichole, Punasity (an exotic spoken word show), Fireside Soul featuring spoken word artist Kween and Jazz vocalist Rhonda Thomas. and The ultimate Halloween Pary hosted by MDProductions from Charlotte.
PRIDEINDEX: I understand that you did not have an event in 2009, why?
JOYNER: My committee and I got burned out. It takes a lot of time and money to put the retreat weekend together. Falltacular is not a money maker for me so I put up a lot of my own personal finances to make the retreat work. I thought it would be best for me to take a year off so that I could regroup and focus more of my energy on my real estate company and my church.
PRIDEINDEX: Were you concerned about loosing momentum or interest since you did not have an event last year?
JOYNER: Initially I was a little concerned because I thought people would lose interest in the retreat. Taking a year off was the best thing I could have done. It made people really wanting the retreat. We are expecting our largest turnout. This year’s registrations have more than doubled.
PRIDEINDEX: Tell us more about you, are you single? involved in a relationship?
JOYNER: I currently reside in Atlanta and I am Co-owner of The Joyner-Horn Realty Group. The Joyner-Horn Realty specializes with working with First Time Homeowners, Investors and working with short sales and forclosures. I am married to Will Horn. We have been together for 6 years. My partner is a pastor of The Power Center. The Power Center is one of the fastest growing inclusive ministries in Atlanta.
PRIDEINDEX: What are your plans for expansion?
JOYNER: I am considering adding another retreat in the Spring, maybe Spring 2012.
PRIDEINDEX: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Falltacular?
JOYNER: There is still time to get in on this year’s retreat. You can go for as a little as $199 per person. The cost includes lodging, food, parties, nightly entertainment, and much more. You can go to www.falltacular.com for more information and to register.