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Picnic with Gatsby

September 12, 2011 by Jo

What a delightful afternoon I had prancing around the Historic Dunsmuir Helman Estate at the The 27th Annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon! There was hardly enough time to take everything in. All the guests were dressed to the nines in their best 1920-1940s daywear and they even brought red wagons filled with picnic baskets, lemonade, all the fixing for Mint Juleps, pie, scones, and scotch. And to make sure they were comfortable while dining, many people brought their picnic blankets and chairs. One group even brought a rug, six wicker chairs, a tea set, punch bowl, a well stocked bar, and an enormous umbrella. Needless to say, they were the picnic champs of the afternoon.


Pictures from my phone, Kevin St. Laurent, Walter Nelson, and Kim Yasuda

I had not attended this party before so I prepared for the live music to be mediocre, but instead it was marvelous! The Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra was killin’ it all afternoon, and so much so that within moments of arriving, Kevin and I hit the dance floor to bal. Yup, that’s right, we did Balboa and we were cutting sick (for us)! Hehe, ok, perhaps not the ideal choice of words when describing one’s (1) balboa dance at (2) a vintage garden party, but eh….it’s my post. DISCLAIMER: Kevin and I do not claim to be balboa dancers. We can do it to some degree, but we are no means as skilled as someone like Mickey and Kelly, nor do we claim to be.

So anyways…had a sweet dance with Kevin and then my hair managed to undo itself. I redid my hair, introduced myself to a number of people, and saw some familiar faces from the past like Michael (of Michael and Persephone), Jane Barnes, Jason Hesse, Chris Lee, and Rusty Frank. I ate, I drank, I chased Kevin around with a camera and took various photos of him, and I danced twice more. The shim sham came on and I think every lindy hopper there hit the floor. Shortly after that, there was a partnered Charleston Contest which Kevin and I won. We are now the 2011, Art Deco Society, Great Gatsby Picnic, Partnered Charleston Champions! What a mouthful. *smile To be perfectly honest, our Balboa dance at the beginning of the afternoon was MUCH more spectacular than what we did on the competition floor, but regardless, we graciously accepted first…..and then I had to redo my hair again.

There was more drinking and mingling….and then the party was done. As the sun sat lower in the sky, people packed up their picnic baskets, folded up their blankets, loaded up their wagons, and the vintage cars rumbled away. The afternoon was reminiscent of a dream. It all happened so quickly and then it was done. As I type about it now, sitting in front of my trusty Mac in my modern pajamas, it doesn’t quite feel real. Thank goodness for photos….and a first place ribbon.


2 Comments »

  1. This sounds so fun!!! I wish they had this in AZ!

  2. Jonathan belmares says:

    Congratulations for winning the charleston contest it was a fun day

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