Similar to today, the 1920s were a time of dramatic social change. Technological progress brought about a rapid shift in lifestyle, with perhaps the most iconic of its time being the flappers. The Roaring ’20s era of jazz, hats and canes was no stranger to the Capital District, and one group is bringing that era back for one night — flappers and all.
• What: Bartenders’ Ball
• When: Saturday, Feb. 8
• Where: Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway
• How much: $60
• Info:583-0280 or visit DVRCsaratoga.org.
Now in its 17th year, the organizers of the Bartenders’ Ball have put a twist in the mix this year with a Great Gatsby theme. The event will bring the flavor of the Roaring ‘20s back to Saratoga Springs with an evening of live music, gambling, martinis and jumbo shrimp.
The event, originally created to honor members of the hospitality industry complete with contests for the area’s best bartender, has become about more than specialty drinks and hors d’oeuvres, however.
“Every year the ball raises money for a different charity,” said Maggie Fronk, executive director of Saratoga County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis (DVRC).
Each year, interested charities must present an in-depth proposal for the opportunity. Past recipients have included Community Hospice of Saratoga and the YMCA. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit DVRC.
“The ball always supports a brick-and-mortar project, so it goes to capital. The money is instrumental in supporting our county’s domestic violence shelter,” Fronk said.
The shelter is the only emergency shelter in Saratoga County for women and children who have been displaced by domestic violence.
“We house around 100 women and children a year,” Fronk said.
In addition to the shelter, DVRC services include a 24-hour hotline, support groups, educational programs and legal support.
“No one ever thinks this will happen to (them),” Fronk said. “No one thinks that, and yet it happens.”
Fronk said the Bartenders’ Ball sells out every year. Seven hundred people are expected this year.
“It’s the best night out of the season. When you walk in, the first thing that greets you is marvelous hors d’oeuvres and the giant shrimp that people talk about every year,” she said.
Fronk imagines a lot of people will be dressed as the iconic Roaring ’20s flappers, but it’s not required. And despite the theme, don’t expect music from the Great Gatsby era to be playing all night. A Capital District favorite, The Audiostars will rock the house with their classic high-energy tunes that know how to get a party started.
Blackjack tables with live dealers, a Money Wheel, Horse Wheel, Dice Games and a poker table will be ongoing throughout the evening.
“Gaming will be in a separate room put on by the Lion’s Club,” Fronk said.
Fronk said the event has grown each year.
“This is the third year we are doing the casino gambling and the third year for the craft beer bar,” she said. “We keep adding new elements.”
In keeping with the bartender idea, awards for Saratoga County’s most valuable bartender will also be presented during the evening. Fronk said this adds a fun element to the event.
“It gets pretty competitive,” Fronk laughed. “Three winners will be announced that night.”
The public can vote for their favorite bartender through Wednesday, Feb. 5, via text. More information and up-to-date tallies can be found on the Bartender’s Ball Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Bartenders-Ball/260522877312862.
The Bartenders’ Ball will take place Saturday, Feb. 8, at Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. The event is semi-formal, open to the public and includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner buffet, chocolate fountain and dessert buffet, specialty martinis, local craft beers, live gambling and entertainment by Holly and Evan and the Audiostars. Tickets are $60 per person. Call 583-0280 for tickets and information. For more information about DVRC, visit DVRCsaratoga.org.