May 2-5, 2019
Each spring, Excelsior Springs travels back in time to its golden age, the Roaring ’20s. Gatsby Days is a celebration that explores the culture and history of the early 20th century with live music, original poetry, art, vintage cars and fashions. The annual festival is named for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby,” a famous story of the Gilded Age of the 1920s.
An * indicates a ticketed event. All tickets now ONLY available at the door. Online sales are closed.
Al Capone at The Elms* Thursday, May 2, and Saturday, May 4
Take a tour of the historic Elms Hotel led by “Al Capone.” Thursday, 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students. Meet in the lobby at The Elms 10 minutes prior to your tour departure time.
Jazz at The Elms* Thursday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Gatsby Days kickoff event features the Excelsior Springs High School Jazz Band PLUS a special set from an adult jazz group that includes Band Directors, Mr. Morris and Mr. Jones! If you like to dance to jazz, bring your dancing shoes as there will be a small dance area. This is a joint fundraiser between the Cultural Guild and the school bands. HALF of the proceeds go to the school band program. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students.
Window Decorating Contest & Music, Friday & Saturday
Ragtime and jazz music will be playing in downtown Excelsior Springs Friday and Saturday. Visit the merchants in downtown Excelsior Springs during Gatsby Days to see their decorated windows. There are 17 participating in a contest: Boulevard Florist, Bluebird Couture, K-9 Clips, The Montgomery, Bliss, Excelsior Springs Standard, Fishing River Market, Miss Taken I. Dentity, Boopy Locks, Bohemian Sage, Mind, Body & Soap, Excelsior Springs Museum, Molly Roberts Studio, Sturm Brothers, Style by Ry, Shabby Chic, Willow Spring Mercantile. Windows will were judged and the top 3 were: Boopy Locks, Boulevard Florist, Bliss.
Vintage Movies at Main Spring
Please note the movie showings had to be cancelled due to high licensing fees for public showings.
Community Participation Parade, Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.
People and pets are welcome to dress up or decorate their bikes for this FREE event! Meet at Spring & Main Street corner to start parade on the circle west of Hall of Waters at 6:00 pm. Parade will start by 6:30. Awards given for Best Costume (Pet), Best Costume (Person) and Best Decorated Bike.
Car Show, Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Autos Through the Decades” will be in the circle drive west of the Hall of Waters and down Spring Street from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Judging is at 11 a.m. Entrance is on the corner of Main and Broadway downtown. 1st and 2nd Place trophy for each category of show cars. Interested in bringing your car? Download preregistration form. $20 entry in advance; $25 day of show. No fee if you don’t want your car judged.
Storytelling, Saturday, May 4, 10:30 a.m.
The storytelling presentation is FREE and open to the public at Main Spring Arts Gallery & Studios, 110 S. Main Street, Excelsior Springs (across from circle at Hall of Waters). Join in to listen or bring your best stories to tell. If you are in the mood for a good yarn or two, join host Jim Two Crows Wallen and local storyteller Randall Davis. Jim has many stories to tell about his time growing up in the Ozarks, where he spent summers with his grandfather, Jimmie Crow Wallen. Jimmie was the best tall tale teller ever. Jim also spent time with his Great Grandfather, Norman Wall, who was born in Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1876 and had many Native stories to tell. Randall Davis is a local storyteller living east of Excelsior Springs. Randall has an interesting job relocating critters that have overstayed their welcomes in homes in the area. He has a more than a few good tales to tell. If you know him or have read the stories on his face book page you will thoroughly enjoy this local storyteller. This event will last an hour or until all the stories have been told. There will be a goodwill donation collected. Contact Denise Siegel, 816-679-4443, for details or to participate.
Fashions Through the Ages* Saturday, May 4, 2:00 p.m.
Dresses and gentlemen’s attire will be modeled during the fashion show at The Montgomery, 425 S. Thompson, Excelsior Springs. Fashions are originals or reproductions of styles from the 1920s. Tea and light refreshments will be served. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students. Fashion show models include: Victoria Vaughn, Brenda Yingling, Steve Yingling, Diane Montague, Gannon Boone, Eli O’Dell, Dantin McBee, Silas and Aiden O’Dell, Donna Frazier, Carolyn Jeffrey, Sally Jones, Tisha Mason; Caroline, Maddie and Brooklyn Wenz; emcee Stacey Hamby.
Held at The Montgomery in downtown Excelsior Springs. The Vaudeville Revue features the talented adults and youth from our area. In true Vaudeville fashion, singers, dancers and other acts performed their family-friendly talents all in the style and period of the 1920s. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students . Interested in being in the show? Contact Marilyn at 816-630-6801.
Youth Art Show, Saturday-Sunday afternoons
Art from area schools will be on display to the public for FREE from 12-4 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Awards are presented at 3:00 Sunday. Refreshments will be served Sunday by the residents of The Oaks Apartments.
Dance at The Elms, Sunday, 4 p.m.
Dance teacher Jeri Mickle will be available for lessons and demonstrations. Light snacks and lemonade served. Cash bar available. Music provided by Beatz DJ Services (Zac Wilkins). Music includes jazz, swing, and more! Tickets are $10 adults; $5 students.
**If you would like to participate in the Fashion Show, Storytelling or Vaudeville Revue, contact Denise at 816-679-4443, Tisha at 816-656-1340 or Marilyn at 816-630-6801.
Please note all funds raised are for scholarships for area students of the arts.
See photos from previous years on our Facebook page.