“Great Gatsby Gala” fundraiser planned

Megin Harrington

Megin Harrington

The Century Inn in Scenery Hill built in 1794 regularly transports its visitors to another time but on July 28 that journey will take them to the Roaring 20s and the decadence of The Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby Gala is a fundraising event for the Scenery Hill Civic Committee which was formed after a fire heavily damaged the historic inn on August 15, 2015. Owner Megin Harrington realized without her business as an anchor, the specialty shops in the community were hurting.

“Our first event was a heritage festival. Each year we feature a different era of history and we have craftspeople who sell homemade things of that vintage,” Harrington said. “This September will be our third year doing that and we give tours of the town.”

The committee also sponsors movie nights the second Saturday of the month during the summer, showing films geared toward children and family viewing with related activities such as costume contests.

The Great Gatsby Gala won’t include any film footage, but the adults attending the event are encouraged to come in costume, donning their best vintage clothing. Each attendee will also need to provide the speakeasy password to enter the garden party, drawing them into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s private world of excess during the public time of Prohibition.

“Our bartender has been doing some research,” Harrington said. “The Southside Fizz had a sprig of mint in it. He said the mint was in case the place got raided. You could chew the mint to hide the odor of the alcohol.”

The menu will actually be a bit more upscale than Gatsby may have served.

“There is a record of what the Stork Club was serving, and the hors d’oeuvres weren’t that interesting — things like aspic and stuffed celery. Ours will be much better,” Harrington said. “It’s going to be a sensory overload.”

To add to the atmosphere, cigarette girls will be passing out the hors d’oeuvres on their trays.

Harrington said the Washington Jazz Orchestra will be playing Big Band music and Charleston lessons will be offered.

“There will be lots of dancing and lots of food,” Harrington said.

And of course, the iconic billboard featuring the all-seeing eyes from the novel and its movie versions will also be present.

Tents will be set up in the garden around the gazebo, lit with Edison lights, so the event will go on rain or shine.

“But it will not rain,” Harrington said.

Harrington said she is preparing for 200 guests for The Great Gatsby Gala. Tickets are being handled through greatgatsbygala.brownpapertickets.com.

Story by Christine Haines for Pennsylvania Bridges