Frequently Asked Questions

Please send us a note at unholyharvest@yahoo.ca if you have any questions that aren’t covered here!

Where does An Unholy Harvest take place?

An Unholy Harvest takes place in central Ottawa. Registered participants will be given the address.

When does An Unholy Harvest take place?

An Unholy Harvest takes place every year on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. For 2018, the dates are October 5-8.

Where should I stay when I come to Ottawa?

Based on your budget, you can book a hotel, rent a private apartment, stay in a hostel, or look for community billeting by connecting with past and present Harvesters – send us a note at unholyharvest@yahoo.ca for details. If you’d like to room-share in a hotel or apartment, the group is also a great place to find possibilities. Experience tells us that Harvest attendees often find spaces to stay with friends, at small B&Bs or through Air B&B (www.airbnb.com), and rarely make use of group discount codes on major hotels, so we do not establish agreements with local chain hotels. For further info on queer-friendly places to stay, visit http://ottawa.gaycities.com/hotels/.

I’ve never been to an event like this and I’m terrified. What will happen to me when I show up?

One of our priorities at An Unholy Harvest is to make sure that we’re welcoming to novice players and people who are otherwise new to the leather scene. We cultivate a warm and friendly atmosphere and we actively work to encourage first-timers to screw up their nerve and attend. If that means you—well, consider yourself encouraged!

We welcome a wonderful diversity of participants, so nobody will expect you to look, act or play “just like everyone else.” There’s no dress code for the weekend so you don’t need a closetful of expensive leather gear to fit in (although if you like dressing up, rest assured you will not be the only one!).

We run a “Fresh Meet” workshop early in the weekend with plenty of get-to-know-you games to help get you started, along with tips on how to meet and cruise people and just generally have a good time at the event. And there will be a number of workshops that are especially welcoming to new players, whether you’re looking to understand the mechanics of swinging a flogger or deepen your perspective on dominant/submissive dynamics.

Also, we’ve got a fabulous team of PICs (People In Charge) who are there to help you out if you’ve got questions or concerns; look for their names and faces on the PIC poster and feel free to say hello or ask for help anytime throughout the weekend.

Last but not least, we have a buddy system for new attendees. Upon your request, we’ll pair you up with a friendly person who’s come to the event before in case you need to chat about anything, ask questions about how things go, or have someone to check in with throughout the weekend. Indicate it in the space provided on your registration form or send us a note at unholyharvest@yahoo.ca if you’d like to be given a buddy, or if you’ve attended before and would like to act as a buddy!

What’s this year’s event theme?

Stay tuned!

I’d like to help out at the event by volunteering. How do I apply?

We’d love to have you join us as a volunteer! Visit our volunteer page to find out more.

Je suis francophone. Est-ce que les activités du weekend me sont accessibles?

An Unholy Harvest (Une moisson impie) se déroule principalement en anglais. Cependant, la présence francophone à l’événement est importante et les organisatrices, ainsi que bon nombre de nos participant/e/s, parlent couramment français. Cliquez ici pour lire une description en français de l’événement!

(La traduction des paragraphes suivants est en cours!) An Unholy Harvest is working hard to make Harvest more accessible to French-speaking pervs from all over Canada

What are you doing to make Harvest more accessible for people with disabilities?

Our accessibility initiatives are discussed in detail on our accessibility page. We are proud to say that we continue to be a fully wheelchair-accessible event, as well as having many other measures in place for a range of accessibility concerns!

I’m sensitive to fragrances and chemicals. Is An Unholy Harvest a safe space for me?

While we want to be as scent-free as possible, within the context of a leather event (with the smell of leather among other things) a fully scent-free environment is impossible to create without compromising the nature of the event itself. Recognizing that we cannot make this a scent-free event, we do aim to reduce the scents in the air by asking attendees to be “scent-aware.” We encourage attendees to be aware of how using certain products (perfumes, oils, hair products, etc.) can diminish someone else’s ability to enjoy the workshops and play parties that they attend. As such, we ask that you be as close to scent-free as is possible for you. Visit our accessibility page for a list of scents you may encounter at Harvest and for more detailed information about how to be scent-aware!

I’d love to give a workshop or lead a discussion at An Unholy Harvest. How do I send in a proposal?

Check out our call for presentations and submit yours ASAP!

I’d really like to attend some of the weekend’s events, but not all of them. Can I pay a partial registration fee just for the parties or just for the workshops?

An Unholy Harvest is intended to be a full-weekend experience. With that in mind, we don’t sell partial packages. Of course, you’re welcome to register and then show up to only the events that most interest you, but we really encourage you to immerse yourself in the leatherdykery!

Okay, but a whole bunch of my friends are coming up for the weekend. Can I just slip into a play party with them? Come on, you know me…

Unfortunately, we cannot admit non-attendees to any events, both for safety and legal reasons. If you’re not a registered participant, you will be turned away at the door (even if you’re super hot and even if we like you!). We encourage you to register for the weekend and enjoy as much of it as you can!

I’m on a tight budget. Is there anything you can do to make it less costly for me to attend Harvest?

There are several ways you can bring down the cost of attending.

Registration
In an effort to make sure that An Unholy Harvest is accessible to people from a range of economic circumstances, we established a scholarship program in 2008. A minimum of four individuals will be awarded a scholarship, which covers the full registration cost for An Unholy Harvest. Applications are confidential and accepted on an ongoing basis until all scholarships have been awarded. For more information, check out our scholarship page. As well, new as of 2017, in memory of Daddy Orchid, we have two extra scholarship spots specifically reserved for attendees who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour. Simply check the box on your scholarship form to indicate your eligibility for the Daddy Orchid Memorial Scholarship (DOMS).

Volunteers and presenters also pay a deeply discounted registration fee ($65), and we provide a limited number of no-questions-asked discount spots ($90 instead of $130) for people who are un- or under-employed, students, and folks who have other financial challenges. We operate on the honour system for this last option.

Travel
For low-income residents of Canada traveling from outside the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor, we established a travel fund starting in 2011. Get all the details on our travel fund page. If you live within the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor and are looking to make affordable travel arrangements, we encourage you to register for the event and arrange a rideshare. The bulk of our participants come from these three cities and many of them are able to offer a rideshare in return for shared gas costs. Alternately, Megabus and Greyhound offer inexpensive bus tickets, VIA Rail offers low-cost tickets, especially when booked well ahead of time, and inexpensive flights are often available via Air Canada and Porter Airlines.

Lodgings
Ottawa has a range of hotel options, as well as various low-priced hostels—see the FAQ question “Where should I stay when I come to Ottawa?” for ideas. Also, you can connect with other attendees for roomshares and community billeting–email us for details! Harvesters form a really generous and friendly community, so don’t be shy to ask.

Wardrobe

Part of the reason we have no dress code is precisely so that nobody feels they have to spend a ton of cash on clothing. In reality, some people do go all out with expensive gear, but lots of us wear regular street clothes during the daytime and just get a bit fancier at night–which can mean everything from body paint to a jock strap and nipple tape to a cute dress to a three-piece suit (and lots else too). Many participants find dirt-cheap leather and other creative wardrobe ideas at second-hand stores. As well, we run a clothing swap most years. See the event program for details–you might emerge with a fuller suitcase than you showed up with!

Food
The Harvest venue is located near plenty of inexpensive places to eat, including grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Our Fresh Meet event features coffee, tea and muffins, and there is a generous snack table at each play party as well. See the next question for more food info.

What kind of food do you serve at the event?

We provide munchies, coffee and tea during our Fresh Meet event on Saturday morning, and we lay out a table of snacks during each of the three play parties, with plenty of protein, fruit, veggies and sweets to help people ground after playing, as well as water, juice and soft drinks. Our snacks are organic whenever possible, and we accommodate a range of diet restrictions (gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free) as well as respecting the allergies that participants indicate on their registration forms. All food is carefully labelled to help you navigate.

For your breakfast, lunch and dinner, there are many restaurants and grocery stores in the blocks directly surrounding the event venue. Also, you can bring food into the event venue at any time.

Last but not least, our closing brunch on Monday is held at a fun local restaurant with plenty of menu options.

What’s your cancellation policy?

If you cancel your registration prior to September 15, you are entitled to a 75% refund. Registration fees are not refundable after September 15. Please note that registration is NOT TRANSFERABLE, so you may NOT resell your registration to a friend.

Harvest regularly sells out and we maintain a waiting list of people eager to attend when others cancel—so if you know you can’t come, please do take the time to cancel your registration and open up a spot for the next person in line.

Can I talk all about my Harvest experience on social media?

Yes, if you stick within a few reasonable guidelines to help preserve the privacy of your fellow participants.

  • Don’t name names or post identifying details about the people you meet or the things you witness.
  • Don’t tag anybody in a Facebook post or @mention them on Twitter in a way that directly connects them with Harvest unless you have asked for and received a clear “yes.”
  • At Harvest we have a strict policy against taking any photographs on the event site, which of course means no pics on social media—unless they are taken off site (for instance, a shot of you in your hotel room wearing the fabulous outfit you plan to sport at the party that night) and with the fully informed consent of anyone other than you who appears in the picture.

Within these guidelines, feel free to wax poetic about your experience! Also, you can use the #UnholyHarvest hashtag on Twitter if you want to connect up with the flow of conversation surrounding the event. Harvest’s twitter presence is @UnholyHarvest, and we try to tweet regular updates that you are welcome to share.

Please note that Harvest does not have an official Facebook page or Fetlife event listing, so if you have questions or feedback for us, stick with sending us an e-mail at unholyharvest@yahoo.ca or fill out our online feedback form here, otherwise we might miss your query. Note that our decision to have a minimal “official” social media presence is deliberate. We have carefully weighed the convenience of online social networks against the past difficulties we’ve encountered with them and the privacy concerns expressed by our participants, and we have strategically chosen to maintain a lower profile as a result.

Please do not email your friendly organizers personally about the event—it’s so much easier for us to keep track of correspondence if you send Harvest questions to the Harvest email!

When did Harvest get started?

We’re working on a history page to tell you all about how Harvest got its start waaaay back in 2007, when we all wore dinosaur leather. We’re not quite done yet – stay tuned!

Have more questions? Drop us a line, and we’ll get it answered.