Moonlight at the Ranch IV: Roaring 20s to showcase decade that defined America

August 18, 2010
Santa Paula News

Everybody knows about the Roaring 20s, the decade of Prohibition and the gang kingpin Al Capone-ordered St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, but there was much more to the era nicknamed the “Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess and it was an age of satire,” wrote Fitzgerald, whose novels detailed the decade.

Indeed there was the miracle of Charles Lindbergh’s determination to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the miracle discovery of King Tut’s Tomb, art that started the Deco craze, and silent film poster masterpieces, the excesses sparked by Prohibition, and satire in song and film that were all hallmarks of the decade that defined America. And you’ll see it all at Moonlight at the Ranch IV: “The Roaring 20’s” to be held September 18 from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at historic Limoneira Ranch.

You’ll want to “23-Skidoo!” to when the Jazz Age reigned for a rat-tat-tat time partying with flyboys, dames, flappers, Lindbergh, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie, and yes, even The Mob, at this fundraiser for the Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce. The honorary chairman of this celebration is Kevin Costner, acclaimed actor and Academy Award-winning director who played famed law enforcer Eliot Ness in the 1987 hit film “The Untouchables.”

“With Kevin Costner agreeing to be our honorary chair this year, it adds just the right ‘touch of class’ to make this another ‘untouchable’ great event,” said Santa Paula Police Chief Stephen MacKinnon, chairman of the Moonlight IV celebration. “Even though Kevin’s busy schedule can’t confirm his possible attendance just yet, he is already known as a strong supporter for Public Safety and we’re thrilled with his involvement.”

Moonlight IV, MacKinnon noted, will continue its reputation for uniqueness: “There are so many aspects of the 20’s era beyond gangsters and Prohibition we don’t recall, this will be a great event to highlight all those other areas as well” with fascinating displays, so “You’ll have a lot of fun with maybe a little education slipped in to boot!”

Each annual Moonlight at the Ranch - Ventura County’s signature event - centers on a new theme that encourages guests to dress up, dress down, wear a costume or accessory or just come as they are. No matter what your attire, after socializing time in Limoneira Park surrounded by displays that evoke the era of the Jazz Age, all will be urged to “23 Skidoo!” to the best - and biggest! - speakeasy in the world, The Eclipse Club!

At historic Limoneira Ranch, a venue constructed in that era of excess, the password is “Joe sent me!” Tickets are only $60 each ($75 walkups, although limited), and instead of the famous 1920’s fad of swallowing goldfish there will be dozens of fine restaurants offering generous tastings and no-host bars serving all that was banned during Prohibition including fine wines.

The renowned Men on the Moon band will get you to dance your “gams” off, and other music will evoke the decade. The celebration will knock your galoshes off in a venue that highlights “The Jazz Age” - when Prohibition prompted secret nightclubs with bathtub gin and where everyone broke the law, and everybody was invited.

During the Roaring 20’s the Warner Brothers brought sound to film, a golden statue named Oscar was born, and Fitzgerald created a new literature centered on “The Lost Generation.”

There were scandal plagued honeymooners “Peaches” and Daddy Browning, nightclub-owning gregarious jazz baby Texas Guinan, the death of “The Sheik” - sultry Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow’s cupid’s-bow lips, and John Barrymore’s swoon inducing profile. Everybody wanted to have “It,” and marathon dancing, flagpole sitting, Mah-Jongg and clip joints shared the world stage with the Cotton Club’s hot jazz and chorus line.

Radio became a “Tune in next week, same time, same channel!” member of the family, bringing not only news, but also topflight personalities into homes ruled by RCA’s canine mascot Nipper. From Broadway stars the Marx Brothers, silent film stars Laurel and Hardy and others who “cracked wise,” to Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra’s “Charleston” 20’s radio was cat’s meow. It was a time when anything could happen - and it usually did!

Ford “flivvers” were filled with “jazz babies” with rolled stockings, driven by Debonair Don’s wearing coonskin coats with flasks in their pockets and friends in the rumble seat, on their way to enjoy doing the Shimmy at a hot jazz in a club where “The password is ‘Joe sent me!’” Having fun was the bee’s knees, and anyone willing to live by “Anything Goes!” wasn’t given the bum’s rush; you don’t want to be a chump and miss this authentic “It’s the berries!” blast to the Roaring 20’s past.

Wear Roaring 20’s attire - flapper look with short fringe and long beads, and for the gents fedoras with flair - or come as you are to take part in the most fascinating decade in history. Whether you wear a vintage baseball uniform, dress like Lindy, mimic your favorite siren or sheik, gun moll or gangster, even Mickey Mouse - any of the decade’s never ending lineup of the famous and infamous - Moonlight will wear you out with a night of fun only possible during “The Lawless Decade.”

Moonlight will have Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and other great music too. And much like Jack Dempsey when he squared off with George Carpentier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship - the first $1 million gate - you’ll land a knockout punch by reliving the Roaring 20’s at Moonlight at the Ranch IV.

Tickets are now available in Santa Paula at the Chamber of Commerce (200 N. 10th St.), Santa Paula Times (944 E. Main St. and also accepting MC or VISA credit cards orders including by phone, 805-525-1890, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), and the California Welcome Center (1000 Town Center Drive in Oxnard). For more information, visit

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