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Chester hosts crowd celebrating the 1920s

Among the many partyers delving into the Roaring Twenties spirit at Saturday's edition of Speak Easy Nights held in Panther Mountain Pub during Chestertown’s smash Rum-Runners Weekend, were (front, left to right): Janine Best, Wesley Butler Jr. of Brant Lake and Denice Morrisseau of Chester — as they watched the Charleston dance contest.

Among the many partyers delving into the Roaring Twenties spirit at Saturday's edition of Speak Easy Nights held in Panther Mountain Pub during Chestertown’s smash Rum-Runners Weekend, were (front, left to right): Janine Best, Wesley Butler Jr. of Brant Lake and Denice Morrisseau of Chester — as they watched the Charleston dance contest.

— Just as a burlesque act started during the show, mock “federal agents” armed with billy clubs and flashlights raided the theater in an attempt to take “bootlegger” Don Butler into custody — but they at first nabbed decoy Don Stewart, until the crowd “ratted out” Butler and he was dragged away.

After the show, Circle B Ranch provided free horse-drawn carriage rides around town to various destinations including area restaurants, which were offering $19.25 dinner specials.

Crowd parties during Speak Easy Nights

Two ‘Speak Easy’ events held Friday and Saturday nights at the Panther Mountain Pub were extremely popular, as the venue hosted wall-to-wall people, Mead said.

“You couldn’t even walk into the pub, it was so jam-packed,” Mead said.

Admission to the pub required patrons to whisper the not-so-secret phrase “Donnie sent me” to the bouncer through a small trap door in the entry door, donated by Stephenson Lumber and specially outfitted by McCluskey’s Hardware.

Nearly all those attending were in Roaring Twenties costumes, and the party was as exuberant as any held nearly a century ago, Mead said.

“It was wonderful...crazy — People were dressed as gangsters, flappers and temperance women,” Mead said.

She added that people from age 21 through 85 partied with gusto.

“Everyone got into it —The younger set wore their great-grandfather’s three-piece suits, fedoras, white ties and suspenders, while the seniors brought clothes out of their closets that their parents may have worn.”

Providing 1920s music was the Jive Five jazz band. Charleston dance contests highlighted both evenings.

Eateries participating over the weekend were The Bullhouse, Hemlock Ledge Restaurant, Luna’s Pizza, Main Street Ice Cream Parlor — all in Chestertown; The Place and O.P. Frederick’s near Loon Lake; and the Black Bear Restaurant of Pottersville. Most of the restaurants had staff dressed in Prohibition-era clothing. Many of the eateries reported the most profitable nights they’ve experienced in years.

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