By Ellen Hill Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media
The chutzpah of the golden age of jazz music, elegant fashion, speakeasies and all things Oriental will return in majestic style when the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels hosts Roaring 20s Festival events on February 23 – 24.
The annual celebration of modern freedom, fashion and fun between the drabness of World War I and the restrictions of the Great Depression will high kick off at the Hydro Majestic Hotel with the popular Charleston Dance for Charity at 11am on the Saturday.
The community event is open to anyone dressed in 1920s costume (a feather boa, Mary Jane-style shoes and string of pearls for the ladies and a Fedora hat and pair of spats for the gents will do) and will be led by the Swing Katz and Music in the Mountains.
Gold coin donations will raise funds for Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service. There will also be prizes for the best dance performances and costumes.
The Charleston Dance for Charity will be followed by the Majestic Long Lunch, an indulgent shared feast showcasing the best regional produce and presented by event ambassadors food luminary Lyndey Milan OAM and The Darnell Collection fashion anthropologist Charlotte Smith.
Guests will graze on decadent fare from the Hydro Majestic culinary team with offerings from Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Lushious Gourmet Catering, The Carrington Cellars & Deli and Josophan’s Fine Chocolates under the ornate vaulted ceiling of the Majestic Ballroom.
Tickets: $95pp includes complimentary cocktail on arrival, live entertainment and dancing, a fashion show of 1920s garments and prizes galore.
Hydro Majestic guest services manager Meagan Iervasi said: “The Roaring 20s Festival relives the golden age of the Blue Mountains generally and the hotel specifically, when exquisitely dressed glamorous people lived a hedonistic life of endless parties.
“It was an era of great social change, of new freedoms and, for some, sumptuous excess.
Thousands of visitors streamed off the trains to check into the guesthouses and grand hotels of Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Mt Victoria and, the grandest of them all, Mark Foy’sPalace in the wilderness’’, the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath.’’
Retro enthusiasts can fully immerse themselves in that ultimate vintage experience on February 23 by riding into the art deco era aboard the Hydro Express from Central
station to the world-famous hotel in time for an evening of decadence, fine dining and mischievous revelry.
Travel in your choice of carriage class aboard our heritage train hauled by restored NSW Rail Museum-owned 1950s diesel locomotive 4201 from Sydney to Medlow Bath and return.
Tickets: from $130.
The Hydro Express will revisit the original Blue Mountains party palace for a 1920s-themed afternoon high tea on Sunday, February 24.
Upon arrival, passengers bedecked in elegant 1920s attire will nibble on a selection of petite pastries, finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones served with homemade jam and fresh clotted cream, with freshly brewed specialty teas and coffees.
Visitors can also be wowed by the opulent refurbishment of the famous hotel on an optional complimentary history tour.
Tickets: from $110.
The Charleston Dance for Charity, Majestic Long Lunch and Hydro Express Deco Dinner will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath.
Bookings: 4782 6885 or hydromajestic.com.au/events/roaring-20s-festival.
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Photos: David Hill
The Poms have snatched the Ashes (well, the Ashes of the retro dance world) and every pair of left feet will help give the Blue Mountains a sporting chance at reclaiming it on Saturday, February 25.
The annual Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of costumed people to dance the Charleston will be held at the world-famous Hydro Majestic Hotel at 11am sharp, with training sessions and registration from 10am.
The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge first claimed the title in 2012. The local event broke its own record in 2013 with 276 dancers and again in 2014. It reached 360 dancers in 2015.
Then in 2015, the town of Bexhill in England snatched the title with 503 dancers, followed by a raid by Swing Patrol dance troupe in London with 975 dancers later that year.
Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge captain/artistic advisor, Angela Corkeron said: “We admit, we dropped the ball and were slammed when the Poms came out of left field. We just haven’t been able to get back to form since.
“But we’re Aussies and competitive recreation is our game. We’ve called time out and our match plan is to high kick that record right back at `em with full velocity.
“We need 1000 dancers on the team. We need sports people with that competitive spirit to help us smash the record for a six and bring that title home triumphant.
’’Participants don’t need to be professional dancers, just dressed in 1920s costume (a flapper dress and feather boa for girls and a suit and Fedora hat for blokes will do), registered for the event and able to attempt the Charleston dance for five minutes.
The Hydro Majestic Hotel is opposite Medlow Bath station on the Blue Mountains railway line, so parking is not an issue.
The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge is a free event, although gold coin donations raise funds for Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service, whose volunteers tirelessly protect the community during bushfires.
Stay on after dancing your way into history for the Majestic Long Lunch and indulge in delicious regional food and wine. Cost: $95pp.
A highlight of the annual Roaring 20s Festival in the area, the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge will be held in front of the pavilion at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, at 11am sharp on Saturday, February 25. Prizes for best performance and costumes will be given.
Go to www.charlestonchallenge.com.au to see a Charleston dance tutorial and www.hydromajestic.com.au to register for the Majestic Charleston Challenge and book other Roaring 20s Festival events at the Hydro Majestic, dining options and accommodation.
- Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Photos: David Hill
Retro revivalists can relive the past by travelling in vintage car convoy from Penrith to the original Blue Mountains party palace as part of the annual Roaring 20s Festival on Friday, February 24.
The bevvy of costumed festivalgoers will be transported in exquisite antique convoy by Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs in the opulent style and spirit of Mark Foy’s legendary first motorcade to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, pausing along the route at heritage landmarks for refreshments and to promenade to maximum 1920s effect.
The magnificent fleet of cars will include LaSalle model Cadillacs, Ava (as in legendary silver screen star Ava Gardner), a dark blue 1928 five-passenger Coupe; Ella (Fitzgerald), a 1929 convertible Landau Cabriolet; and Flora, a cherry red coloured 1929 four-passenger Phaeton was named after a different kind of leading lady – owner Donald Millar’s mother.
The Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs collection was begun by Mr Millar’s father, also Donald, who bought the car now named Flora in 1954.
There’s a timelessness to the shape of Cadillac LaSalles, and that’s part of that art deco era,’’ Mr Millar said.Old cars can have a beauty because they’re old, but these cars have a beauty inherent in themselves. They have a distinct beauty, class and rarity.’’
Romantic couples and small friend groups will arrive at Foy’s splendiferous “palace in the wilderness’’ and learn the oft outrageous history of the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels.
They will then nibble on canapes while watching a sublime sunset from exotic venues like Salon du The and Cat’s Alley before dining on theatrical regional fare created by award-winning chefs in the elegant Wintergarden Restaurant.
Guests will retire to luxury overnight accommodation and breakfast at leisure before joining the throng of retro revivalists for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge world record takeback for the largest number of people to dance the Charleston.
After dancing up an appetite, indulge in a sumptuous repast showcasing the finest regional food and wine available throughout the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West at the Majestic Long Lunch.
The Majestic Journeys package includes vintage car ride from Penrith to Medlow Bath (one-way), three-course dinner, two-night’s accommodation, the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge and Majestic Long Lunch. Cost: $2,000 per couple.
The Majestic Long Lunch may also be booked as an individual event. Cost: $95 per person.
Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 for more information and bookings.
* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media