Hiram’s speakeasy

Prohibition-era party raises funds for Morgan Hill Historical Society

CLANDESTINE AFFAIR The Morgan Hill Historical Society hosts its annual Prohibition Party fundraiser on Saturday, June 24. CLANDESTINE AFFAIR The Morgan Hill Historical Society hosts its annual Prohibition Party fundraiser on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Photo: Anthony Wei
Pssst—what’s the password? You better have it if you want to get through the Speakeasy door in the back of the building at the upcoming Prohibition Party fundraiser dinner party this Saturday night at Villa Mira Monte in Morgan Hill. This lovingly restored Victorian was the home of Hiram Morgan Hill, the city’s namesake, and his wife, Diana Murphy Hill. Established in 1884, the home and surrounding 2.5 acres has become a history park and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks.

“This is Morgan Hill’s ‘party-of-the-year’” says, Kathy Sullivan, president of the Morgan Hill Historical Society. “This third annual event celebrates the gay-old times of the Prohibition years (1920-1933) when people kicked up their heels at clandestine parties serving alcohol.”

Dinner will consist of heavy appetizers, provided by Grinds Vines and Automobiles for the third year in a row.

“We’ll be serving Chinese and Italian cuisine because that was considered exotic food and all the rage in the ’20s,” says Nancy Reynolds, the association’s marketing and communications chair. “Our no-host bar will be serving Prohibition-era cocktails and our marquis raffle item, called ‘Bootleg Bath,’ is a basket filled with a variety of alcohol, valued at $1,000. Raffle tickets are $40 for one ticket or $60 for two tickets.”

When guests are ready to rumble, live Dixieland music by the Zinfandel Stompers will get fringed dresses a-popping. “Most everyone comes dressed in Great Gatsby style,” continues Reynolds, “Women wear flapper outfits, long pearl necklaces, and feathered headbands, while the men tend toward a gangster look with fedoras and a suit, or come as a dandy in a straw boater hat.”

Expecting upwards of 200 people, the affair will include the buffet, no-host bar, card table and fortune telling inside the historic home while dancing and vintage car portraits will take place in the home’s front yard. Along with silent auction items, the ever-popular mystery boxes will be available at $20 each with prizes valued at $20-$200.

The cost is $59 per person; cocktails are $8 and beer is $5. All proceeds benefit the Morgan Hill Historical Society; whose mission is to “preserve and share the history of Morgan Hill, and its environs, to inspire a sense of community.”
Purchase tickets at the door, or by calling Reynolds at 408.888.1260, or pay online at eventbrite or https://tinyurl.com/speakeasy-hiram.

Bev Stenehjem
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Bev Stenehjem is a wine columnist for South Valley Magazine and is the author of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, Arcadia Publishing. Bev also promotes the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley association on Facebook and Twitter. Reach her at [email protected].