Have you ever dreamed of stepping into a magic time machine and dialing it back to the days of Bogart, big bands, victory gardens, epic musical productions and the Greatest Generation? Now is your chance to embark on an evening of Swing Era nostalgic fun and glamour at Key West Art & Historical Society’s “Back In Time – Cruise to the 40s” fundraiser, taking place Wednesday, December 5, with proceeds supporting the ongoing preservation needs of Key West’s architectural crown jewel, the historic Custom House, now celebrating its 127th anniversary.
Festivities kick off at 5:00pm with celebratory cocktails on the sweeping veranda of the Custom House Museum, 281 Front Street. At 6:30pm, revelers will step over to the Margaritaville Resort and Marina’s Grand Ballroom – magically transformed into an unsinkable luxury cruise liner, the “S.S. KWAHS.”
1940’s attire is encouraged; dress like a famous 40s movie star, big band celebrity, war hero/heroine, or your best Key West interpretation of one. Fellas, think WWII sailor or flyboy attire, zoot suits, or vintage sea cruise evening attire. Dames can channel period icons like WWII pin-up girls, swing dancers, silver screen glamour queens, or the Andrews Sisters with their victory-rolled hair, shoulder-padded jackets, A-line skirts and peep-toe heels.
Back in Time guests can dine in elegant 40s sea cruise style, dance the night away to the big sounds of the Southernmost Brass Band, take a swing dance lesson with Lucy Carleton, bid on really swell silent auction items, compete for best-dressed prizes, and raise a rousing toast to Brewster Chamberlin, author, historian, and recipient of the 2018 Scotti Merrill Preservation Award – an annual accolade that honors an individual who has dedicated him or herself to preserving the cultural heritage of the Florida Keys, with special emphasis on the Custom House.
“The Custom House building was in near-derelict condition when The Society became stewards of the county-owned building in 1991,” said Michael Gieda, Society Executive Director. “The late Scotti Merrill, along with the Society’s original leadership and other islanders passionate about historic preservation, spearheaded a monumental renovation project, a mission that our current Society team and supporters continue today, supported by grants, donations, and fundraisers like the annual “Back in Time” galas.”
Join the Party. Step “Back in Time” to invest in the future; Purchase a single ticket for $125 or sponsor a table for $1,250, $2,500, $5,000, $10,00 or more—proceeds will be contributed to the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys’ Custom House Preservation Fund. For tickets visit KWAHS.ORG (click “Tickets”) or contact Danielle Holliday at 305-295-6616 x 114.