Flappers and dandies, zoot suits, jazz, Art Deco and parties with wild abandon were all part and parcel of the Roaring '20s, the prosperous era in which cultural innovations flourished just before the Wall Street crash of 1929.
For its two-day annual event known as Art in the Garden, the Washington County Historical Society is inviting everyone to don their flapper dresses and preppy suits and join in the Roaring '20s fun in Madeleine's Garden, located just outside the LeMoyne House in Washington.
"Because this is the 20th anniversary of our biggest fundraiser of the year, we decided to theme the event to the Roaring '20s," said Clay Kilgore, executive director. "To set the mood, our volunteers will dress in period clothing, and the garden will be decorated Gatsby-style with silver, white and gold balloons, colors popular back then. All six tents in the garden will be lit by small yellow lights, and members of the Martha Washington Garden Club will create period floral arrangements."
Day One kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, with complimentary champagne and wine and period food served by John DeFede, chef for the Upper Crust Restaurant in Washington.
"The '20s was a period when canned food became popular and ingredients such as sardines and anchovies were incorporated into many foods such as Caesar salad served at parties," he said. "Jell-O was also popular at parties and restaurants but not in private homes because people couldn't chill it down enough in the days before refrigerators."
For Saturday's Gatsby-esque soiree, he plans to serve salmon mousse, deviled eggs, new potatoes with Hollandaise sauce, asparagus au gratin and chicken a la rose -- chicken in a red sauce made from red peppers and paprika and garnished with rose petals. There will also be a beef carving station and, for dessert, pineapple upside down cake.
For the Sunday, Sept. 8 event, which runs from 2 to 6 p.m., Mr. DeFede will pass around hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, and he's considering the feasibility of installing a champagne punch fountain.
"To make Saturday evening even more memorable, patrons can have their photo taken alongside one of the '20s vintage autos we'll have parked along the street outside the garden," Mr. Kilgore said.
On Saturday, patrons will also be able to groove to the live music of Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils, a blues band that will perform a repertoire of numbers popular in the 1920s, and jazz vocalist Jessica Lee and Friends. Ms. Lee will also perform Sunday at Art in the Garden with Pittsburgh guitarist Mark Strickland. Keyboardist Guy Tucci will also perform live.
"Jessica Lee has performed with some great musicians, including the drummer for Ahmad Jamal, and will release her fourth CD this fall," Washington jazz guitarist Roy Ruzika said.
On the morning of Sept. 8, 63 regional artists will set the stage for the 20th annual Art in the Garden by filling the garden tents with their works of painting, pottery, sculpture, photography and drawings.
"We're inviting back many of the artists who participated in the show in the early years such as Ray Dunlevy, Alan Cottrill and James Sulkowski," Mr. Kilgore said. "The prices of the art will fit every budget with bin art starting as low as $25 and high-end glass sculpture pieces that go for several thousand dollars."
A percentage of the proceeds of the art sales go to help support the historical society.
"The show started 20 years ago with the idea of giving the public a chance to buy quality artwork by professional artists at a reasonable price," said Ray Forquer, art committee chair. "We decided that the best format would be a miniature size show in which no piece would be larger than 20- by 20-inches framed. The format proved so successful we've stayed with it over the ensuing years."
In the past, Art in the Garden has featured such standout artists as Nat Youngblood, Charlie Pitcher, Robert Griffing and John Buxton, as well as internationally renowned photographer Jay Stock, whose work has been featured in the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building and who is one of the few living members in the Photographic Hall of Fame.
"Over the years, not only has Art in the Garden been a success for the historical society, it's also been good for the artists," Mr. Forquer said. "Because it's such a good selling show, our artists want to come back year after year."
The 20th Annual Art in the Garden will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 7 and from 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8. The two-day Roaring '20s event will be held in Madeleine's Garden, 49 E. Maiden St., Washington. A Children's Corner will occupy those 18 and under with artistic endeavors.
Tickets are $50 for Saturday evening only, $20 for Sunday afternoon only and $60 for both days. Rain or shine. Call 724-225-6740.
Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org