By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism
Not content with setting a new world record, organisers of this year’s Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge aim to smash their own Guinness World Record for the largest Charleston dance on the planet.
To be held in Leura Mall on Saturday, February 1, the annual public dance challenge officially kicks off the Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) popular Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz!, at various venues throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region from February 1 to 23.
Festival producer Sandy Luxford said: “Last year we set a new Guinness World Record with 276 dancers.
“Not only was the day fabulous fun, it was very exciting to receive an official letter from Guinness World Records in England in July confirming our achievement.
“We could rest on our laurels, satisfied in having achieved a world record, but we like being told we are `officially amazing’, so we want to high kick our own record in 2014 with 300 participants.
“If everyone who took part last year returned with a friend then that figure would be easy to reach.
“You don’t have to be a professional dancer to take part – just dressed in 1920s costume and able to dance for five minutes.
“We are very lucky this year to have Claudia Chan Shaw as our festival patron. Not only is she exquisitely beautiful, Claudia is the epitome of 1920s glamour and elegance and it’s an era she is knowledgeable about and loves.’’
As well as practice sessions before the attempt and dance leaders along the mall during the event, participants can download the dance sequence from the www.roaring20s.com.au website and start practicing now.
Trains from Sydney’s Central will arrive at Leura station at 10.16am on the day, just in time to register (from 9am to 11am) and practice before the countdown begins to the 11.30am challenge. Cost: gold coin donation to the Rural Fire Service.
Stay on after the challenge for entertainment, vintage cars and the inaugural Long Lunch in Leura.
Featuring picnic-style fare and tables or picnic spots on the grass, there will be lots of options from BYO to pre-ordering an indulgent local picnic hamper box crammed with regional produce.
Hamper boxes will include antipasto with locally grown vegetables from Leura’s Princess pantry; cold cuts of slow roasted meats from the ovens of Vesta at Blackheath; fresh tossed salads from Wentworth Falls’ restaurant Nineteen23; cheese and fruit from The Carrington Cellars & Deli; and a wickedly indulgent dessert from Josophan’s Fine Chocolates in Leura. Matching local wines will be available for purchase from Leura cellars. Matching local wines and beverages will be for sale at Leura Cellars in the mall on the day.
Options range from a gourmet hamper for two ($160, includes $25 gift voucher for Leura Cellars and two seats in the marquee) to one seat in the marquee ($30, BYO hamper). Bookings essential.
Be sure to also don your best 1920s garb for a chance at prizes for best dressed table, lady, man, couple and hat.
Afterwards, indulge in boutique shopping, go for a gentle bushwalk or explore the region before poshing up for the glamorous Art Deco Ball at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba.
The Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz! celebrates the golden era of opulence, architecture and jazz music with events throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region throughout February.
BMLOT chairman Randall Walker said: “The Roaring 20s Festival is a perfect fit for the heritage ambience of the Blue Mountains region. There are so many events that visitors should stay at least one night to immerse themselves in the festival.’’
Go to www.roaring20s.com.au to register for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge, book events or details about accommodation packages during the festival.