Ever feel like you were born in the wrong era? Matt Tolentino does. He is so enamored of the days of flappers and philosophers that he decided to take his fascination with the Roaring ’20s to the streets at the inaugural Jazz Age Sunday Social at Dallas Heritage Village on March 30.
Inspired by New York’s Jazz Age Lawn Party, which has been drawing stylish celebutantes to Governor’s Island for nearly a decade, this weekend’s Sunday Social was conceived after Tolentino performed at the village’s History with a Twist fundraiser last year.
The founder of both the 18-piece foxtrot orchestra the Singapore Slingers and Dallas’ Art Deco Society, Tolentino had already hosted a series of vintage-inspired events at venues like the Texas Theatre. But Dallas Heritage Village’s storied history and iconic buildings made it the perfect setting for a more expansive homage to the times.
“I’ve been involved in the vintage scene in Dallas for some time as a band leader or event planner, and I thought I would take what I know and ramp it up,” he says.
“The biggest reason for choosing the Dallas Heritage Village is they have an old-style bandstand that automatically conjures up images in the park in the early ’10s and ’20s. I contacted Heritage Village, and it didn’t take much convincing — especially because proceeds will benefit them. “
In addition to a performance from the Slingers and opening act Razzmajazz, activities around the newly restored Van Cleave Bandstand include dance lessons from the Rhythm Room’s Elaine Hewlett; croquet; and shopping for vintage clothing, jewelry and antiques. When the bands aren’t on the stands, a member of the Austin Phonograph Society spins 78s on two tabletop record players.
As Tolentino says, “It’s just about the only kind of DJing I’ll allow.”
Attendees don’t have to put on their glad rags (think parasols, drop-waist dresses and walking whites), but if they do, they can pose in front of a vintage 1915 Packard or Studebaker for a photo op, or enter the event’s costume contest for best “lawn party attire.”
In true Prohibition style, the event is booze-free, but guests are welcome to bring picnic baskets or sample one of Carnival Barker’s handmade ice creams sold onsite.
The Jazz Age Sunday Social is March 30, noon-4 pm, at Dallas Heritage Village in Old City Park. Costume contest is at 2:30. Admission is $10 for adults; kids 12 and under are free.