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Party Like It’s 1933: ‘Taste History’ as Ferndale Celebrates 80th Anniversary of Prohibition’s End

Hang out at eight bars and speakeasies, wear period clothing, see a working still and be sure to tell them Moe sent you. It’s all for a good cause.

After the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919, the making and selling of alcohol was illegal. This federal policeman uses a pickax to destroy a rum-runner's cargo in San Francisco during Prohibition. Image Credit: Library of Co
After the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919, the making and selling of alcohol was illegal. This federal policeman uses a pickax to destroy a rum-runner's cargo in San Francisco during Prohibition. Image Credit: Library of Co
Ferndale’s downtown will commemorate again the anniversary of the day in December 1933 that Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the 21st Amendment ending Prohibition.  The annual event this year is Saturday, Dec. 7, and funds will be raised for the Ferndale Good Fellows.

This year eight venues will decorate in the 1930s period and offer special drink prices.  Staff and patrons are encouraged to wear period costumes (gangsters, flappers, rum runners etc.). The event will raise funds for Ferndale Good Fellows, who offer assistance to needy families during the holiday season.

Off-duty police officers work with the fire department, volunteers, and other service organizations as part of Good Fellows to ensure families are warm, sheltered, fed and have a gift for the holidays.  Donations will be collected through “passing the moonshine jug,” raffles and corporate sponsorships.

Sponsors and venues include Danny’s Irish Pub, Sneakers Pub, The Oakland Art Novelty Company, One Eyed Betty’s, The Bar Downstairs, Green Thumb Garden Center, John R Glass of Troy, The Livernois Lounge, Just 4 Us, Valentine Distilling Co., New Way Bar, Howes’s Bayou and Dino’s Lounge.

Last year’s events raised more than $4,000 for the holiday charity efforts.
To help or for information contact Monica Mills (248) 330-2328 or monmil@sbcglobal.net.    
     
During the 13 years of prohibition, illegal liquor was in high demand, expensive and made criminals rich and powerful. Police officers and the FBI agents were investing much time and money fighting a losing battle. Legalizing and taxing liquor offered better control and lawful jobs. During the Depression, President Roosevelt helped solve economic problems by raising money for the federal government from alcohol taxes and tariffs.

How do I join the fun? 
Hang out at any of the participating venues: New Way Bar, Valentine Distilling Co. (real working still), Howe’s Bayou, Danny’s Irish Pub, Dino’s, Sneakers Pub, One Eyed Betty’s from 5p.m.-2 a.m. and/or The Oakland – 5-6:30 p.m only.  This is not a pub crawl, but your group is welcome to visit all.

How do the Ferndale Goodfellows support charity?
Volunteers with official badges will ask patrons for donations you will place in official moonshine jugs.  The venues also have jugs now.   You can ask staff to put your early donations in their Venue jug.

Do I have to dress up on event day?
No, but it could be fun. Most volunteers wear 1930s flapper, rum-runner or gangster outfits. Look up HBO’s Boardwalk Empire for ideas. Some venue staff will honor that time in history that legalized alcohol and open opportunities for jobs.

Who benefits from the money raised?
The event will raise funds for Ferndale Goodfellows who offer assistance to area families in need during the holiday season.  Off-duty police officers work with the fire department, volunteers, and other service organizations as part of Goodfellows to ensure families are warm, sheltered, fed and have a gift for the holidays.
Donations will be collected through “passing the moonshine jug”, Cookie sales, drink specials, corporate sponsorships and other fun ideas.

What’s with “Moe sent me”?
You can see a real working still at Valentine Distilling Co., 161 Vester St., from 4-7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday. See Nick, and tell him Moe sent you (it’s an old speakeasy term).

How can you be a “good fellow”?
Make donations from now until Christmas inside Just 4 Us.

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