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6 Vintage Parties You Will Want to Attend This Summer

April 8, 2019

Have you ever dreamed of partying with Gatsby, gliding through the dance floor to the sound of a big band, or rocking hard by the pool with Elvis? If the music and fashion of yesteryears appeal to you, then you are in luck. Vintage parties are a growing scene across the country, and, thanks to a crowd of enthusiasts, you can rewind the time machine and be transported back in time for an afternoon or a weekend.

Here are some of the best vintage parties you can attend this summer!


Tiki Oasis

April 12-14, Scottsdale, AZ & August 7-11, San Diego, CA

If you don't have time to book a trip to classic Mid-century Hawaii, you can experience the Tiki culture to its fullest in Scottdale this spring or San Diego later this summer, at Tiki Oasis. Sport your snazziest Hawaiian shirt or Tiki dress for a stroll through the market place, get dolled up and immortalized thanks to the Pin-Up package, and, of course, lounge by the pool with a delicious cocktail in hand while listening to the mellowing sounds of island music. Evenings feature more cocktails, more dancing to live music, and titillating burlesque shows.


Viva Las Vegas

April 18-21, Las Vegas, NV

Viva Las Vegas and its little East coast brother Viva East (July 11-14 in Boxborough, MA) are THE rockabilly events of the season. Think classic car shows and pin-up contests. Dress in your 1950s-best to attend the pool party, rock out to some classic tunes, and brunch tiki-style. If you are no pin-curl expert, professionals are available to get you the perfect event-appropriate ‘dos and make-up.


The Avalon Ball

May 18, Avalon, CA

The long-standing Avalon Ball (it is its seventeenth year running) is the ideal time to enjoy the opulent Avalon Ballroom on Catalina Island in all its glory. Party like it’s 1929 with other flappers and cool cats dressed to the nines. If you are no Charleston expert, the event features dancing lessons. Other Art Deco events are featured on Friday evening and Sunday if you wish to make a weekend of it.


The 1940s Ball

June 15, Boulder, CO

Experience the Swing Era to its fullest at the 1940s Ball at the Boulder Municipal Airport in Boulder, CO. The affair is both a fabulous party and a way to honor WWII veterans. Before dancing the night away to the music of the 1940s, you are welcome to admire airplanes and armored vehicles from the era, stroll through the vintage fair, and book an appointment at the vintage salon to get ready for the ball.


The Jazz Age Lawn Party

June 15-16 & August 24-25, Governor's Island, NY

The legendary Jazz Age Lawn party on Governors' Island has grown from an intimate gathering for a happy few in the know in 2005 to a massive two-weekends happening that gathers thousands of vintage enthusiasts and newcomers alike. It is now one of the most significant and better-known prohibition era-inspired events in the world accessible via a short ferry ride away from the glistening skyscrapers of New York City. On top of dancing contests and lessons with Hot-Jazz live bands, the lawn party now features a vintage fair, activities for the children, a pie baking contest, a classic car show, and anything else your heart could desire during a festive afternoon in the 1920s.


The Roaring Twenties Lawn Party

August 3-4, Ipswich, MA

As your sport your 1920s best, the winding road leads you to a stately brick mansion overseeing a sprawling lawn with a 360-degree view on the glistening seas. Welcome to the Crane estate. Settle your picnic on the grass for an afternoon of dancing, vintage car rides, visits of the Great House, mummy unwrapping (!), and lawn games.

 

Bonus: Feeling blasé about all this modern fare? Ok, we got one for you. Pack your passport and your most fabulous wig and head for the Fetes Galantes in the Gallerie des Glaces at the Chateau de Versailles (France) on May 27th. Now, that’s a bucket list item you can brag about.


What to Know Before Attending

 

  • People go all out. Forget about scratchy polyester Halloween costumes, think true vintage and, in many cases, homemade dresses from original patterns (those folks are a crafty bunch). If you want to keep up, Etsy, eBay, and brick-and-mortar vintage stores are your best bet.
  • Original vintage clothes can be pricey. If you look through old pictures of the time period you want to emulate (Pinterest and Google are excellent resources), you can also find either modern or vintage-but-newer outfits that are a lot more wallet-friendly. Hint: the 1970s and the 1980s were very much into the 1920s and 1930s. Accessories like hats, shoes, and sunglasses are usual modern reproductions since they can be hard to find in good condition nowadays and are often only found in smaller sizes.
  • If the party you want to attend features a picnic, bring actual silverware, China, and your grandma's candelabras. It is very much part of the display.
  • Many events are centered around dancing, but you don’t need to know how to have a good time. Many events offer free classes, and the live music and talented dancers are a show of their own. If you want to join them on the dancefloor, go for it, but that’s not a requirement.

Written by Alix Barnaud for Knockaround.

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