A Slice of the Art Deco Era at The Groveland Hotel

It was a perfect June day, the skies clear and the temperatures nice and warm, maybe even a little too hot during the mid-day dance lessons. But I’m getting ahead of myself—the  first annual Vintage Day was a big success!

It actually started off earlier than originally planned when the onsite photographer, Laura Cottril, held a photographer’s reception on Friday evening in the Lillie Langtry Suite. Laura was the perfect match for Vintage Day, due to the storybook and vintage look of her photography. Serendipity brought us together after our original photographer didn’t work out, leaving the door open for someone even better: Laura.

Saturday was much hotter than predicted, so the ice cream and cold bottled vintage sodas were the perfect thing. Peggy even picked up some “It’s It” ice cream sandwiches which were a big seller. If you’re not familiar with these treats, they were invented in 1928 in San Francisco and have been a local icon ever since. Take a scoop of vanilla ice cream, smoosh it between two big oatmeal cookies, and dip the whole thing in chocolate. That’s an “It’s It!”

ice cream socialThe only time and place that the dance lessons could be held were on the dance floor in the Garden Courtyard between 2:00 and 3:30, so it got a little hot out there. We’re looking into either changing the time for next year, or perhaps adding some shade umbrellas along the west edge of the dance floor. Despite the heat, everyone loved the free dance lessons! Even members of the Art Deco Society of California picked up a few new steps (I had assumed they knew all the dances of the 1920s, but it turns out they were just as delighted by the lessons as everyone else).  Sadly, dance instructors Ilene and Jim Tassano were unable to stay as late as they wanted due to a family emergency, but they had just as much fun as the rest of the crowd while they were with us.

John Pearson is quite a character. He not only entertained with his caricature sketches, but he was on the dance floor most of the night. John literally swept Ginger Pauley, our headliner act, off her feet—check out our YouTube video of his antics.

Of course, the main event was Ginger and the Hoosier Daddys. The twilight sky was still bright as they took the stage at 8:00, so we left the stage lights off until their third number, when the yellows and reds made their hot act even hotter. Ginger played a wide range of tunes from the teens through the 40s, and even one tune from the 50s that was played in the movie Back to the Future! What fun.

Ginger had her big white feather boa to go over her incredible black-and-white beaded dress, made by the same company that made the dresses in the recent Academy Award winning film, The Artist. She would pull out the boa and say “I’m going to do another one of ‘those' songs,” meaning a song by Helen Kane, the original “Betty Boop” girl. Ginger does a perfect, spot-on Helen Kane, and if you didn’t already think she was adorable, these “boop-oop-a-doop” numbers send the cute factor over the moon.

At the end of the evening, after she was done posing for photos on the bar for Laura Cottril, Ginger and I talked about how much fun Vintage Day was. “I’d love to do it again,” she said, and so would we. We’ve got ideas for how to make next year’s event even bigger and better, and some theme ideas for the future, including a salute to early Hollywood, and Cab Calloway’s zoot suits (Ah reet! How sweet!). See you next year!