Great Gatsby Festival


The Tahoe Heritage Foundation’s 25th Annual Great Gatsby Festival was held August 14th & 15th, 2010.

Imagine if you will, the superfluous nature of life for the wealthy during the “roaring” 1920’s. Expenses to the wind! And Prohibition along with it! This was the life for those of wealthy descent, and South Lake Tahoe was no different for the Pope, Baldwin, and Tallac families during that famous decade.

The Tallac Historic Site, host to the Pope, Baldwin and Valhalla Estates, is a prime example of the decadent lifestyle these famous families shared, and the Great Gatsby Festival, held annually by the Tallac Historic Society, pays homage to a different time in American history with a living replication of the life and times of those who were lucky enough to reside in Lake Tahoe during it’s time.

Each year the Tallac Historic Society outdoes itself with the Gatsby Festival, dubbed so after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book “The Great Gatsby” whose plot centers around 1922 in wealthy America. While the Pope, Baldwin and Tallac families’ respective lives were a far cry from the interpersonal drama that Fitzgerald wrote about, the name connotes images of that fleeting magical decade, and is an accurate title to represent the festivities held each summer just north of Camp Richardson at the Tallac Site.

Actors and volunteers in full 1920’s era garb and memorabilia guide you through a day in the life of some of the wealthiest families in America. The food they ate, the music they listened to, the recreational activities they shared and the lifestyle they built along the shores of Lake Tahoe.

This year featured The Barking Dogs, a jazz ensemble of young, talented musicians from the Stockton area who share a healthy love for jazz music and put on a show that will take you back over 85 years right into 1920’s America. Complete with a guided tour of the Pope estate (featuring character role playing done by actors, actresses and volunteers to help you get a feel for life at the estate) a speak-easy to represent the challenges Prohibition forced people to face, and a medley of other attractions including blacksmiths, tea-parties, boat houses, staff living quarters and thousands of artifacts and items either original or replicated after the times. It truly is a special event that only comes around once a year, and should not be missed during your Tahoe vacation.

For more information on the Gatsby Festival and the Tallac Historic Site, including guided tours and events held throughout the year, please call the Baldwin Estate Museum at (530) 541-5227.