NEW ULM - The Roaring Twenties came back to life Thursday night when the Grand Center for Arts & Culture hosted A Bootlegger's Ball sponsored by CASTLE Lifelong Learning.
The Grand Kabaret was transformed into a speakeasy with participants in era-appropriate dress. Patrons who made it past the front door (Password: "Sally sent me") were treated to an evening of music, dancing and a dose of history.
A crowd full of excited flapper girls and tough-talking wiseguys sat down for a presentation about the American Prohibition Era. David Jones spoke about the history of the 18th Amendment and its eventual repeal. The 18th Amendment took effect in January 1920 with the intention of banning alcohol in the United States. After years of attempting to enforce the law with little success and an increase in crime, the amendment was repealed in December 1933.
Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
Ruth Ann Webster and Phillip Meidl take to the dance floor at the CASTLE Bootlegger’s Ball on Thursday evening at the Grand Center for Arts & Culture in New Ulm. The event celebrated the close of the winter session of CASTLE programming, Kathy Austinson, director of CAST and CASTLE, is in the background on the right.
Jones explained that one of the ironies of history is the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition, made it more difficult to obtain alcohol. The amendment re-legalized alcohol, but it also clarified that regulation would be done at the state level, leading to more laws such as closing time of bars and legal age of consumption.
Following the presentation, guests celebrated the old fashioned way with ragtime music, appetizers and beverages - all without fear of a police raid.
The Bootlegger's Ball marked the end of CASTLE winter season of programming. Past events this session included lectures on Climate Change and the History of Antarctica.
CASTLE's spring session will offer courses on Russian Culture, Essentials of Minnesota Wine, Grasslands & Wetlands, and English Aristocracy/Downtown Abbey.