Sunday, September 30, 2012

KBPV gala bash a smash: Who knew Prohibition could be so much fun?

Wild Night at the Waldorf gamblers place their bets
Josh Davis and Toni Lucas

On the evening of Saturday September 29 Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village (KBPV) presented 'A Night at the Waldorf', a 1920’s Prohibition themed fundraising gala. Over 100 attendees enjoyed an evening of dinner, followed by dancing, mock gambling, and “illicit drinks”. This theme was enhanced by volunteers and members of the Windy Hollow Players, who dressed in full period costume to perform a variety of theatrical roles.

Flappers: A style that deserves to return
C. Davis photo
Almost everybody came dressed up.  The ladies looked marvellous, many of them garbed in fine flapper-style, some looking every bit the gun-moll.  Prohibition-era gangster was a popular look among the menfolk.  Delicious and dapper in turn, this was one event that made for a great date night.

Paul and Chris Bruder

For the evening, KBPV's Beere Hall was reimagined as the Waldorf Hotel, which used to exist here in Pincher Creek on the former Bridge Avenue, across the street from the current KBPV administration building. The Waldorf advertised itself as a temperance, or “dry”, hotel, but its owners were charged with operating a “blind pig” or “speakeasy” on New Year’s Day 1918. The frontier structure was equipped with a second floor veranda, and served as the office and lumber yard for the Pincher Creek Co-op for several years after its life as a hotel concluded.

Attendees were given “Kootenai bucks”, which they could use to gamble, bribe officials, and “pay off fines” given out by a crooked RCMP Sergeant with poor eyesight.

There's nothing a little bribe won't fix!
T. Lucas photo
Flasks, tommyguns, feather boas and long-stem cigarette holders were in evidence everywhere. Ladies of the evening lured men away for some entertainment in private. A prohibitionist and a vicar did their best to dampen the fun.

C. Davis photo

Jackie Therriault and Kevin Fitzpatrick entertained the crowd with period music, and the Bloomin' Inn catered the meal.

Puttin' on the Fritz: David Crowell

Prizes were provided by the Co-op for those with the best 1920’s costumes, divided into three categories; best dressed lady, best dressed gentleman, and best dressed couple. The Bloomin' Inn donated door prizes and the Town and Country Liquor Store donated a bottle of the good stuff for the person who collected the most Kootenai Cash.

In the end, the Vicar closed down the gambling tables and confiscated the liquor, effectively bringing the wild night of hijinks to a close.  That's right, the Vicar took the liquor.  If only the dandies had been handier and drunk it quicker.

The event served as a fundraiser for KBPV's 1920’s era exhibit, currently being built on the east end of the museum grounds, behind the Beere Hall.  3-D facades are planned to represent five of the Co-op buildings used during their 90 year history in Pincher Creek, none of which are still standing.

At the end of the evening, guests were reminded by KBPV President Colleen Cyr that they could pay $250 to donate antique cream cans with their names on them, to be put in the windows of the creamery exhibit. For an extra $50 cream cans will be provided by KBPV, and Arnie Thompson will add names in the same style as when they were in use. Burlap feed sacks are also to be available, with names of people or businesses on them, for a donation of $100 towards the exhibit.

The board, staff, volunteers, organizations, and members of the public that attended deserve a round of applause for creating an evening bursting at the seams with fun and glamour.

Jim Berridge, Fran Cyr, Colleen Cyr, and Ray Degan

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/10/12

    What a wonderful evening!Dinner was great,costumes were awesome, music was entertaining,wonderful crowd of people!
    Fun, fun, fun!


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