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Bootlegger Ball brings back the 1920


Brookings S.D. (KELO AM) - Nine decades ago, Brookings was a dry community as was the rest of the nation. It was the Prohibition Era. But that doesn't mean the liquor didn't flow, and some of the most colorful stories from those years stem from evenings spent at the speakeasy.

South Dakota Art Museum, the state's artistic center, is recreating the speakeasy days for its annual fundraiser.

The second annual Bootlegger's Ball fundraiser is 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 25, at the Swiftel Center at the east edge of Brookings. Tickets are $50 per person through Jan. 17, when the price rises to $60. A group of six tickets can be purchased in advance for $250.

Proceeds help fund new exhibits and programs at the museum.

Rachel Fritz, of Brookings, attended the inaugural event, which drew 189 people.

"I had such a blast at last year's Bootlegger's Ball. I can hardly wait to attend this year. It was great to see so many members of the community out supporting the South Dakota Art Museum. The best part was that almost everyone was in 1920s attire.

"It is really a great event and I encourage those who have a love for the arts, or just want to enjoy a night out, to join in on the fun."

The night features hors d'oeuvres, two cash bars and dancing to live jazz music from a band directed by Nathan Jorgensen, the jazz band director at South Dakota State University. Melissa Hauschild-Mork, the SDSU dance instructor, will provide free dance lessons to help partiers pick up on the fox trot, Charleston and jitterbug.

Away from the dance floor, there will be gambling and tarot card readings.

Guests can try to win raffle tickets at one of the five gambling tables. Each person receives $5 in gambling chips, according to Stacy Buehner, marketing and development coordinator at the art museum. Additional chips and bonus play coupons can be purchased.

Raffle prizes include trips to the Black Hills, Kansas City and Jackpot Junction Casino in Morton, Minn. In addition to the trips, various silent auction items also are up for bid.

Psychic Donna O'Dea of Sioux Falls will donate half of the proceeds from the tarot card readings to the museum. Tarot card readings are $30 for 10 minutes. 

Buehner encourages people to come in flapper dresses, boas, zoot suits and fedoras, or other apparel from the 1920s because there will be a costume contest and a photo area.

The art museum website even has its own link to 1920s style fashion ideas: www.sdstate.edu/southdakotaartmuseum.com.

Complimentary valet parking is available for the Bootlegger's Ball. To enter the speakeasy, don't forget the secret code: Hooch.

About South Dakota Art Museum:

Since 1970, the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings has been a place for people around the world to enjoy the artistic legacy of South Dakota in all its diversity. 

Rotating exhibits feature Harvey Dunn, Native American art, Marghab linens and Paul Goble; as well as exhibits curated from regional, national and international artists. The museum has more than 7,000 objects in its collection including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, textiles and ceramics. 

The museum store features jewelry, pottery and original works of art by local and regional artists in addition to books on Native American art and South Dakota history and culture. 

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed Sundays, January-March and all state holidays. For more information, visit www.southdakotaartmuseum.com or call 605-688-5423, toll free 866-805-7590.