Smithsonian Hosts Jazz Garden Party
Jay Gatsby had nothing on Smithsonian at 8 when it comes to a great setting for a garden bash. He had a Long Island mansion, but the museum has a Castle.
Put on your flapper dress and blazers and time travel in true Jazz Age style from 8-11 p.m. on Sept. 27 at In the Night Garden: A Jazz Age Party and dance away the evening in the moonlit splendor of the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden. The Smithsonian Castle will be your backdrop as you wander the garden’s brick paths and discover live music, cocktails, period-inspired outfits and plenty of entertainment to light up the night.
Smithsonian a 8 is the museum’s 21+ after-hours event series offering a mix of culture, art, history and science, including music, a cash bar and special access to Smithsonian exhibits, collections and experts.
Cloche hats, seamed silk stockings, bow ties and high-waisted trousers will add to your 1920s chic. Imagine yourself in Gatsby’s romantic and riotous garden, where “men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” at this one-of-a kind, early-autumn event celebrating D.C.’s most pleasant time of year. And don’t worry about the weather — the party goes on rain or shine!
Hot Club of DC serves up Gypsy jazz in the style of legendary musicians Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli that will lure you to the dance floor. Experts from Smithsonian Gardens will lead tours of the exotic Freer Gallery walkway and point out plants that illuminate and perfume the night garden.
Create glow-in-the-dark globes with Mason jars to light up your landscape or balcony. Learn the secrets of moths, butterflies and other creatures of the night with guests from the Entomological Society of Washington. Need to jazz up your look for the evening? Craft flower boutonnieres and corsages, then capture the moment as you pose with Roaring Twenties props in the Smithsonian at 8 photo booth.
VIPs can venture into the Castle to sample vintage cocktails and learn about D.C.’s 16-year stint under Prohibition. Garrett Peck, author of Prohibition in Washington, D.C., will tell the story of an underground city ruled not by organized crime but by amateur bootleggers, where publicly teetotaling congressmen could get a stiff drink behind House office doors and the African American community of U Street was humming with the hot sounds of jazz. Hear about the popular (and fashionably illegal) cocktails of the era, see how they’re made and taste samples.
General Admission $15 in advance and $20 at the door, if available. VIP admission is $30 and includes special tastings. For tickets and further information visit www.SMITHSONIANat8.com.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.