Visit the past at the Great Gatsby Festival and Tea |

Visit the past at the Great Gatsby Festival and Tea

Jeff Munson

It was an era of amplified fun, roaring jazz, gin joints and wild attired worn by free-movers and free-thinkers.

Before the stock market crash in October 1928 brought it to a thundering halt, the Jazz age was a time when young adults reveled in free-for-all fun and sometimes harmless sin. Captured in the novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the era will come to life once again this weekend at the Tallac Historic Site.

The Great Gatsby Festival and Tea is a living history slice of the American place and time, featuring period cars, games, entertainment, jazz, food and, of course, flappers.

“There is so much that comes out of the era; music, fashion and art – Cole Porter and The Cotton Club – it is a huge part of our history,” said Phylise Walker, executive director of the Tahoe Heritage Foundation, which puts on the event.

The popularity of the festival has grown over the years, as people dress in vintage clothing that reflects what Walker calls “a simpler time” in our nation’s history.

While today’s young adults are entertained with popular culture provided to them by television and the Internet, in the 1920s the time was indeed simple. And that is reflected in the kinds of entertainment the festival offers.

Whether it is ragtime music, blacksmithing, seed spitting, pie eating, or games of bocce ball, the Great Gatsby Festival and Tea offers a unique time warp for the entire family.

“When you are there to experience it year after year, you learn something new about the era. Not only is it fun but it is educational,” Walker said.

Festival events include children’s games, bocce ball, strolling musicians, and performances by the Sunnyside Up Barbershop Quartet. Additionally, the Baldwin Museum will be open throughout the weekend with the exhibit “The Women of Tahoe.”

Pope House tours will be offered for $5 and there will be tours of the Boathouse and Blacksmith shop. Antique automobiles will be on display each day as will many vintage exhibits ranging from vintage clothing to children’s toys. Concessions will be available throughout the weekend.

The crescendo of the festival is the Gatsby Tea and Fashion Show, which will take place on the Valhalla Estate on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets for the tea are $25 each or $200 for a table for eight and can be purchased from the Tahoe Heritage Foundation office or by calling (530) 544-7383.

Deborah Rush from Fashions of Yesteryear will conduct the Honeymoon in Tahoe Fashion Show of period costumes from 1880 through 1920. There will be a contest for “Best Costume” “Best Hat” and “Best Antique Tea Cup Story.” Prizes will be award for the best story attached to an antique tea cup or other heirloom piece.

Raffle tickets will be on sale through the weekend for $1 each or six for $5. Each day of the festivals, winners will be drawn for prizes, including vacations and restaurant gift certificates.

For more information on the Gatsby Festival or to purchase tickets call (530) 544-7383 or log onto

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