The Fernie Museum is hosting a speakeasy event on Oct. 30 in tribute to their current exhibition “An Immigrant Story: The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello”.
Lori Bradish, the program coordinator at the Fernie Museum, said that the event is apart of a series of community events dedicated to the exhibit.
“The Fernie Museum Speakeasy is one of a number of community programs being held in conjunction with the fall exhibit,” said Bradish. “The exhibit is based on the life and times of the Italian immigrant who arrived in Fernie in the early 1900s and through hard work grew a number of business ventures including being the supplier of bottles to breweries and being the agent for a number of alcohol distribution companies. He eventually moved his family and business operations to Blairmore. And with the creation of prohibition in Alberta and his ties back in Fernie the time was ripe for Picariello to become a notorious bootlegger and rum runner. This was the time of illegal drinking in secret establishments and the use of underground tunnels to transport liquor.”
The speakeasy is to celebrate a time when liquor was prohibited, yet people were still looking for ways to socialize.
“The event is a chance for adults to dress up in their flapper dresses and fedoras on what is known locally as ‘Gate Night’, the night before Halloween,” said Bradish. There will be various types of entertainment, including burlesque performers, circus acts and jazz musicians.
“The evening will also feature heritage drinks and food that reflect the 1920s era: gin Fizzes, old fashions, and a special Fernie Brewing Company cask is being specially brewed for the evening,” said Bradish. “The appetizers for the night will have a definite Italian flare in keeping with the exhibit themes of immigrant populations who came to this area in the early 1900s.”
Tickets to the event are $50 or $90 for a couple and can be purchased at Scotiabank. The location of the speakeasy is a secret, but attendees can discover the location and the password needed for entry on the night of the event at 8:30 p.m. at the Fernie Museum.