Farmington: Speak-Easy Dance Party to Benefit Food Closet

TamiLynn | BDN
Posted Nov. 02, 2012, at 9:25 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 5:31 p.m. to 5:31 p.m.

Location: The Homestead Kitchen, Bar and Bakery , Broadway, Farmington, Maine

FARMINGTON — Once again, gangsters, flappers, dancing and jazz highlight the second annual 1920s speak-easy dance party planned for Saturday, Nov. 3, at The Homestead Kitchen, Bar and Bakery on Broadway.

All ticket sales benefit the Care and Share Food Closet. This year, sales will be matched up to $1,500 by Franklin Savings Bank and up to $500 by Rebecca Ryder, Franklin Memorial Hospital president. That’s according to Doug Walrath, who along with wife, Sherry, and Homestead’s Laurie Danforth started the event last year.

Just do the math, Doug Walrath said. Sale of 100 tickets at $15 each with the matches could raise $3,500 for the local food closet. With the closet’s ability to purchase food at reduced rates from the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, that amount could mean more than $10,000 in food  purchases for the 70 families that the closet serves each month.

“It’s 70 families of two, four or six, not 70 people,” Sherry Walrath added.

With the matches, every ticket sale means $45 for the food closet, he said. The couple is about half way to the first 100 sales with tickets available at the Homestead.

The evening begins with speak-easy meals and Prohibition-era beverages served from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are necessary, Danforth said. Meals are not included in the ticket price.

The dance, at the Zebra Club, begins at 7 p.m. with jazz music from the South Strong Road Crew and Friends featuring Doug Walrath on keyboard, Scott Dixon on drums, Andy Buckland on bass, Mel Tukey on trumpet, Peter Lord on sax, David Dixon on washboard and vocals by Sherry Walrath.

Just like the 1920s speak-easy clubs, admittance is from a back door off the alley between the Homestead and Reny’s. 

Just slip down the decorated alley, knock three times, give the doorman the password, “Joe sent me,” and a can of beans or food for the food closet and enter through the restaurant’s back door, Danforth said.

It was a full house last year with most people dressing up in 1920 garb or at least with a headband and feather. Dress from that era is encouraged, but not required.

Sherry Walrath will teach Charleston and Peabody dance steps between the musical sets. Special entertainment is also planned. Photos with gangsters will be available.

“It’s just a fun night,” Danforth said.

The Homestead will once again collect nonperishable foods this winter at the restaurant and take to the food closet, she said. People can just bring food items to the restaurant and add to the basket.

The restaurant also purchases potato and vegetables for the food closet and donates their surplus bread, she said.

“Cuts in federal funding and more people with limited incomes have made the need greater this year than before. Winter is coming and the food closet shelves have to be filled,” Danforth said.

“It’s a perfect time for this with the food closet preparing about 300 Thanksgiving basket,” Sherry Walrath said. “It’s time for neighbors to help neighbors.”

For more information or to make reservations, call the restaurant at 778-6162.