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Chutzpah returns for majestic vintage festival

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.

Photo submitted

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.


Roaring 20s Festival: art deco weekend at Hydro Majestic Hotel

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group                   Photos: David Hill

The Hydro Majestic Hotel will revive its most mischievous traditions and host the ultimate day-long vintage revelry on Saturday, February 24.

The Roaring 20s Festival celebrations will high kick off with a community Charleston Challenge for Charity dance in front of the Majestic Pavilion at 11am.

The naughty knees-up will be an opportunity for art deco buffs to don their most sophisticated 1920s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats).

There will be prizes galore for best dressed lady, man, couples and hats. Cost: gold coin donation towards Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service.

The Charleston for Charity will be followed by a decadent regional food and wine showcase of shared plates featuring the culinary skills of the Hydro Majestic kitchen team as well as other exceptional local producers.

A fashion parade of exquisite 1920s clothing will add an extra course to the long lunch menu. Cost: $95pp.

Sumptuous high tea will be available in the Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley throughout the day, along with history tours of the world-famous hotel.

That evening, the grandest of the grand Blue Mountains hotels will again resound with the likes of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Bugsy Siegel when the Hydro Majestic holds a Gangster Casino Night in support of Katoomba Hospital.

Guests can play all the traditional games at casino-quality tables with professionally trained casino standard croupiers.

There will be an array of prizes, and money raised at the 18 years plus-restricted event will go towards refurbishing the waiting room in the local Katoomba Hospital emergency department. Cost: $55 per person general admission to Casino includes welcome cocktail.

Visitors are encouraged to fully immerse themselves in the Roaring 20s Festival by staying for at least one night at the Hydro Majestic Hotel or one of its nearby sister properties Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Echoes Boutique Hotel or Lilianfels Resort & Spa.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book any/all of the Roaring 20s Festival events, accommodation and dining.

  • The Hydro Majestic Hotel is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Majestic snatch back of Ashes of retro dance at Hydro

Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge artistic adviser Angela Corkeron leads the 2016 attempt.

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         

Majestic journey revives Hydro’s vintage past

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


Majestic fashion tips for Roaring 20s Festival

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group        Photos: David Hill

Roaring 20s Festival events at the original Blue Mountains party palace will be majestic opportunities to promenade art deco fashion to maximum elegant effect during the February 24-25 weekend.

Retro revivalists can dress to impress for three festival events at the Hydro Majestic Hotel:

Arrive at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in style with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

 

 

  • Majestic Journey on Friday, February 24: Couples will be collected from Penrith railway station at 10.30am in a fleet of vintage Cadillacs in the spirit of Mark Foy’s original cavalcade and proceed to the world-famous hotel, pausing en route at several historic landmarks. Once at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, guests can tour the splendiferous “Palace in the wilderness’’ before a three-course dinner overlooking the magnificent Megalong Valley. Cost: $2,000 per couple includes vintage car ride, light luncheon, entry to Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum and Everglades Historic House & Gardens, three-course dinner, accommodation and Majestic Long Lunch. Bookings: (02) 4782 6885 or hydromajestic.com.au.

 

Take part in the retro dance take-back

 

 

  • Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge, 11am on Saturday, February 25: The annual public dance-off will attempt to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston. Registration and dance tutorial: www.charlestonchallenge.com.au.

 

Indulge in the most decadent regional gourmet food and wine in the Majestic Marquee

  • Majestic Long Lunch, 12.30pm-4pm on Saturday, February 25: Once the excitement of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge has quietened and retro revivalists promenade to glamorous effect, diners will graze on decadent regional fair and glimpse exquisite fashion from yesteryear from the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture. Cost: $95 per person. Bookings: (02) 4782 6885 or www.hydromajestic.com.au.

Long-time festival ambassador, fashion expert and owner of the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture, Charlotte Smith, said 1920s fashion was diverse, allowing people to wear outfits which suited their personal taste, social standing, financial state and moral beliefs.

The era was renowned for the emergence of the newly independent worldly-wise “flappers’’ with their flattened chests and shapeless sheath dresses.

 

However, Ms Smith encouraged festival-goers to look to fashion designer Coco Chanel and legendary stars of the silver screen Louise Brooks and Greta Garbo for jaw-droppingly beautiful eveningwear, the likes of TVs Miss Fisher and Agatha Christie murder mystery shows for everyday wear inspiration and the Downtown Abbey series for sophisticated upmarket attire.

Hair was worn short and slicked back or in a bobbed style. Those with long hair could create finger waves at the front and sweep the rest into a low chignon at the back to look like Mary Pickford or Fay Wray.

A modern style example would be television personality and festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw, whose personal wardrobe is heavily influenced by the `20s era.

Men liked to look dapper for every occasion and wore pure cotton or woollen clothes such as a pin-striped cricket outfit or cream linen suit accessorised with silk cravats (not matching but complementary, no ties), cotton or silk handkerchief, a walking stick or umbrella and a hat (golfing caps and fedoras were popular). Rolled up trouser cuffs showing a little bit of sock, a pair of braces and plain or tartan patterned vest completed the look which modern people might identify with The Great Gatsby or New Hamptons collegiate style.

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw with a Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs car at Everglades Historic House & Gardens

Egyptology was all the rage, after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. The 1920s was a time when people went adventuring to distant, exotic lands such as cruising the legendary River Nile.

Particularly relevant to the Hydro Majestic, people of the `20s (including original hotel owner Mark Foy) were fascinated with the Orient.

“Think cinnabar jewellery, turbans, zodiac starburst designs, that Greek key pattern, gold and lapis, red and chrysanthemum motifs, tiaras, vintage brooches, beaded or sequined bows, headbands with feathers or a jewel,’’ Ms Smith said.

As well as outside the world-famous hotel in front of crisp white walls and breathtaking valley views, retro buffs can show off their costumes when sipping a cocktail along the dramatically decorated Cat’s Alley, within the beautiful Majestic Marquee and against the enormous windows of the Wintergarden Restaurant during dinner.

Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 for more Roaring 20s Festival information and to book accommodation and dining options.

* Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Roaring 20s Festival patron Claudia Chan Shaw with a Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs car at Everglades Historic House & Gardens


Hydro to host majestic Blue Mountains grazing event

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group         Photos: David Hill

The original Blue Mountains party palace will host a regional food and wine showcase on a majestic scale at the annual Roaring 20s Festival long lunch on Saturday, February 25.

Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg

The mouth-watering feast of shared plates will begin with antipasto by Kinship Kitchen, followed by a chicken and rabbit rillettes with toasted brioche main dish designed by Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg with caper dressing and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges herb-crusted beef fillet, horseradish crème fraiche and sides of twice-cooked potato and pumpkin, EVOO and carrot, kale and celeriac salad, white balsamic dressing.

 

 

The Majestic Long Lunch will be completed with exceptional regional cheeses from the Carrington Cellars & Deli and a wickedly indulgent dessert by Josophan’s Fine Chocolates.

 

 

The upmarket repast will be held after the attempt for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston hopefully reclaims its Guinness World Record with 1,000 dancers in front of the Hydro Majestic Pavilion at 11am. (Go to hydromajestic.com.au to register and charlestonchallenge.com.au to see a dance tutorial.)
Once the excitement of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge has quietened and retro revivalists promenade to glamorous effect, diners will graze on decadent regional fair.

 

They will also glimpse exquisite fashion from yesteryear from the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.

Diners are encouraged to dust off their most sophisticated `20s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats) to be eligible to enter the prizes galore up for grabs on the day (best dressed lady, man, couples and hats).

 

 

 

Plate Up Blue Mountains food and wine advisory group chairwoman Pam Seaborn said: “The Blue Mountains is fast becoming recognised as a must-visit food destination, with so many fabulous dining venues and chefs doing amazing things with the outstanding fresh, seasonal produce to be found throughout the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West.

“The annual Roaring 20s Festival is a perfect opportunity to show them off – and dress up, dance and enjoy an afternoon with friends at this gorgeous venue too of course.’’

The Majestic Long Lunch will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 12.30pm to 4pm on Saturday, February 25. Cost: $95pp includes spiced Peach Melba sparkling cocktail on arrival. Bookings and details: hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media