By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Photos: David Hill
A little bit naughty, a little bit scandalous, a little bit sexy but ooh so majestically classy: the Hydro Charleston Challenge will high kick the original Blue Mountains party palace back to its famous roots on Saturday, February 6.
The annual Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston will be held on the lawn in front of the Belgravia accommodation wing at 11am.
Hydro Charleston Challenge co-ordinator Angela Corkeron said: “There’s plenty of room. If the lawn fills up or you prefer to dance on a hard surface, step into the historic tennis courts overlooking the exquisite Megalong Valley.
“It’s crucial that we have at least 520 dancers to reclaim our title (let’s aim for 600 to really smash the record), so we’ll even spill into the carpark if we have to.’’
After holding the title for two years in a row, the Blue Mountains relinquished the mantle in August after a successful challenge by the Town of Bexhill in the UK with 503 people.
“It’s lovely to share it around and give someone else a turn but really, recognition for the biggest naughty knees-up belongs to the Hydro Majestic. We want it back and we’re going to take it back in true art deco style.’’
Anyone can take part in the Hydro Charleston Challenge. All participants need do is wear a costume and be able to follow the dance for five minutes.
“Assembling a costume could be as simple as wearing a boa, a drop-waist dress and some Mary-Jane shoes (the ones with the straps, buttons or ribbons across the top) for the ladies and a loose suit and a Fedora for the fellas.’’
Gold coin donations will be collected for the Rural Fire Service Blue Mountains district on entry.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “Events such as the Hydro Charleston Challenge is what this fabulous hotel was built for – the chance to let your hair down and show off.
“Original owner Mark Foy was famous for his outrageous parties. We are proud to announce now that the most famous hotel in Australia is well and truly back on the party scene with the flare and style of its first heyday – all with the trademark Hydro Majestic elegance of course.’’
The 2016 Hydro Charleston Challenge will be held at 11am on Saturday, February 6, followed by the Majestic Long Lunch from 1pm to 5pm featuring food and wine and special guest Lyndey Milan OAM.
Guests in 1920s finery will graze informally from picnic hamper boxes packed with regional delicacies, promenade on the lawns and dance the afternoon away to the strains of a 1920s-style band.
The Roaring 20s-themed weekend will begin on Friday, February 5, with the Gangster Casino Night to celebrate the era of breaking with tradition, crooks and prosperity – and this time there’s no prohibition. Net proceeds from the adults-only event will go to CareFlight aeromedical charity.
The weekend will close with the uber sophisticated Shanghai Nights of cocktails and canapes, lights, lanterns and jazz music to celebrate on the eve of the Chinese lunar New Year.
The Roaring 20s Festival will continue throughout February at other venues around the Blue Mountains.
The Hydro Charleston Challenge and other Roaring 20s events at the Hydro Majestic Hotel pay homage to the decade when the region cut loose in an endless round of hedonism – sumptuous architecture, costume balls and high teas, saucy clothing, outrageous (for the time) dancing and jazz music.
Go to hydromajestic.com.au for more event, accommodation and dining option information and bookings and to register for the Hydro Charleston Challenge.