The first vintage costume event I went to — way back in 1996 — was the Bay Area’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Held at the Dunsmuir House, an estate in the Oakland Hills, the event features music and dancing, vintage cars, and a contest to see who can create the most opulent picnic spread. The event draws up to 2,000 people, and that first time it was like walking into a dream. Within a short time I spotted the flapper of my dreams. The band struck up a waltz, the only dance I’d learned in advance, and I made my move. Soon after we were a couple, and I was in the throes of first love. We’re still friends all these years later.
The last time I attended was in 2009, a couple of months before moving to New York, when I took these photos. It’s worth planning a trip to San Francisco for the annual event. — CC