Over the past few weeks (ok months really) I have been chatting here or there about the idea of a Gatsby event in our home town. It stuck in my head a couple of years back when I heard that the Roseville Library in the Cities had such an event. To quote Harry Potter just because I want to I thought the idea was brilliant.
The author of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a Minnesota author. Gatsby, set in the 20’s has a lot of appeal right now with swing dance lessons being popular, the clothing styles, and just the ability to dress up in fun and gorgeous costumes.
When our Friends board decided to give it a go our main draw was to attract a new group of people beyond those that come to our Wine and Words event. We knew there would be some overlap of attendees to both events, but felt this might appeal to the 20’s to 40’s age group (which it did…. and then some!)
In a book I recently read… the question was presented…
Do you think it is better to fail at something worthwhile, or succeed at something meaningless?
I dreamed for Gatsby to be worthwhile.
From the start, I had a vision in mind of a jazz band, dancers, a photographer, awards, and 20’s style drinks to try. It slowly came together. The Brainerd High School jazz band said yes to using volunteer community hours to play for us. My good friend and photographer Joey Halverson offered to be our event photographer, a local lady who knew my mom made our trophies and donated the printing which brought our cost way down, and the venue we used, Arrowwood Lodge was willing to work with us on providing a drink option called The Bee’s Knees and a Mary Pickford.
Our goal was 100 guests. We closed out 2 days prior to the event at 191. If we would have been able to keep selling tickets we would have been over 200. Most amazingly, almost everyone of those people dressed up. I would say close to 98%. People really got into it. But you don’t have to take my word for it…
Besides the great 20’s look, amazing photos, excellent jazz music, food, drinks, and dancing – the local newspaper also came and took a ton of pictures for the paper as well as made an amazing video of the event. Not only did we attract a younger age group, we had an amazing diverse mix of ages which was an awesome bonus. We would call this a wonderful success.
I will add this to Saturday Snapshot this week…. a walk back in the 20’s that is what I have been up to.
Next up… Wine and Words.