Scenes from High Fever

To see the rest of Michelle Johnsen's set of images documenting High Fever, click here.

Michelle Johnsen

For the first time in the Village Nightclub’s recent history, the venue will stay open on the Fourth of July weekend.

The occasion: an outdoor party hosted by the founders of High Fever, the Village’s monthly themed LGBTQ-friendly dance party.

“High Fever: Festival” kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 5, in the parking lot of the Village. The event will feature food trucks, tarot readings and an outdoor beer garden. Lancaster bands Sun Not Yellow and the Stonewall Vessels will play sets, and members of the Circus School of Lancaster will perform a routine to add to the eclectic theme.

High Fever began in late 2015 as most things do: feelings of restlessness.

“I was like, ‘I’m bored. I need somewhere where I can go dress up and be weird,’ explains Jae Santiago, one of High Fever’s founders.

The staples of a High Fever event include a central theme, a costume competition and a corresponding, show-stopping drag performance. Themes have ranged anywhere from the board game “Candyland” to tributes to Beyoncé, Prince and David Bowie. This month’s High Fever is technically theme-less, though you would be forgiven for calling it Santiago-themed.

“I wanted a lot of different things to emphasize who I am,” she says. “Though, if we could throw a party at a river at a campground, that would be more my forte. We’re not there yet.”

“Jae is a young entrepreneur with a great head on her shoulders,” explains Kahmor Vixenn, resident master of ceremonies at High Fever. “She’s a well-rounded girl.”

It didn’t start that way, but High Fever has transformed the longstanding Village Nightclub into something of an “underground” mecca for Lancaster. In recent years, similar dance parties like Shadowland, an alternative and industrial music night, and Deep State, a tribute night to electronic and techno, have popped up at the Village.

“When you have a place that’s been an institution for years, and then over time if maybe it doesn’t change, people will dismiss it, I think,” says Nick Reiner, who performs as DJ Salinger. “I think with High Fever, people are coming around on some exciting, young ideas, which is great.”

As the party grows and welcomes more and more people, the folks behind High Fever are not forgetting its roots as an inclusive, accepting place for Lancaster’s LGBTQ population. 

“I feel like Lancaster now is, for the most part, a very safe place for the queer community,” says Santiago. “It’s a place for the community to come together and celebrate the breakthroughs you’ve made in your life.”

“When you’re at High Fever, you’re at a safe place to be,” adds Vixenn. “Straight, gay, trans, indifferent, it’s just everybody having a good time.”

High Fever: Festival takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 5. Click here to stay updated on the event, and read below for a story on Jae Santiago and Dj Salinger's new duo, Bluejaae.

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Kevin Stairiker is a features writer for Fly After 5. He is a graduate of Temple University and enjoys writing in third person. When he isn't writing, he's probably playing guitar for a litany of bands, reading comics or providing well-needed muscle at