The Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) turned back the hands of time with its speakeasy event. Guys, dolls, gangsters and molls spent a night to remember bringing back the Roarin’ ‘20s. Guests sipped era-inspired drinks by mixologist Shelby Goelz. Many enjoyed the fresh oysters from Cedar Key shucked on the spot. This fundraiser was held in historic downtown Ocala at the Brick City Center for the Arts. This venue was enthusiastically transformed into a period-perfect, candle-lit speakeasy.
Sponsors included “Talk of the Town” presenting sponsor Bridlewood Farm. “Bee’s Knee’s” sponsors were the Ocala Culinary Festival, Fish Hawk Spirits, Ocala Lady Jeweler, Tammy Portrait Artist and Widow Jane Bourbon. “Cat’s Pajamas” sponsors were Collier, Jernigan, Goedert PA and La Cuisine.
Nearly 125 Ocalans looked glamorous and dapper as they entered through a darkened alley complete with “gangsters” checking passwords. Al Capone (Daryl Collier) and his “business manager,” Irene Mabee (Dee Collier), were great character actors that helped lend authenticity and set the mood, along with actors from the Ocala Civic Theatre. Art Meadows’ Packard and Marty Helgerson’s Model A added an air of sophistication to the evening.
Flapper-attired dancers from the Performing Arts Center (PAC) performed a jazzy dance number for admiring onlookers. That was just the impetus needed for the crowd to start to move to the tunes of vintage songstress Miranda Madison. In between sets, MCA board member David D’Alessandris, aka “Dizzy Dave and His Dancing Fingers,” entertained by playing era favorites on the piano. A glitter encrusted bottle of champagne, complements of Stella’s Modern Pantry, was presented to the best-dressed couple. The event came to a close with a “raid” with illuminating blue police lights.
Funds raised benefitted MCA’s initiatives to support art and artists. Event chairperson and MCA Chair-Elect Lisa Seiffer said, “We are so excited about the reception of this event. It is a reflection of the passion and hard work of the committee that brought this event to life. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are looking forward to other thrilling events like this in the future.” Kudos also go to Executive Director Jaye Baillie.
Marion Cultural Alliance is a nonprofit established in 2011 with its signature project, Horse Fever. MCA’s mission is to champion, convene and create opportunities for artists and arts in Ocala/Marion County. Annually, MCA awards cultural grants and to date has granted $285,000 to local nonprofit arts organizations. The Four Friends Fund awards small grants to artists for equipment and training.
MCA operates Brick City Center for the Arts, which is a downtown art gallery. Exhibits, featuring the work of local artists, change each month. The gallery gift shop’s inventory includes one-of-a-kind jewelry, pottery and more, all of which are hand crafted by local artists.
Be sure and stop into the Brick City Center for the Arts the next time you are strolling near the square in our lovely downtown. To receive more information or to become a member or donor of MCA, please visit mcaocala.com or call (352) 369-1500.