August 9th, 2014 turned out to be a warm and sunny day, despite us worrying until the last moment that it would rain . We arrived at the grounds of Goetz Palace early in the morning to prepare everything until 13, when the second Golden Afternoon was to begin. We were preparing for the picnic for many weeks before, but the last few hours may have turned out to be crucial for us.
Fortunately we managed to get everything we needed at the spot ready – the Eastern Tent was in position, the vendors’ stalls were set up. The owls, the table set for the Mad Tea Party (after all – “it’s always tea time”) and the Flying Machine were in the garden. Around 12.30 first guest started arriving, but everyone changing clothes took so long that it put our time machine out of tune and resulted in the programme starting not according to the plan and after 13. Well, while traveling one should be prepared for everything, and a certain amount of unforeseen situations was… foreseen.
To greet this afternoon gilded by the august sun Jane Austen Dance School presented one of their dances in the Orangery under the scorching sun of Lesser Poland. After that Golden Afternoon started gaining pace lazily – as a picnic should – but soon enough first picnicking groups spread their blankets, opened the baskets they brought and indulged in delightful laziness in the Palace’s beautiful garden. More and more stylish 19th-century and (little more fanciful) steampunk silhouettes were wandering around the interiors of the Palace.
The entire day was abounding in attractions and surprises: one could have visited the hospitable Sheikh in his tent steeped in water pipe smoke and allow themself to be seduced by the eyes of a Houri accompanying him, face the nocturnal birds of prey – under the watchful eye of their vigilant keepers, experienced falconers – come across the Queen of Hearts and have a sip of tea with her (deftly avoiding the subject of white roses to avoid being forced to paint the white ones red – the monarchess favorite color), learn proper ball etiquette and dance steps and try the newly acquired knowledge out later during the ball, learn what steampunk and what slavicpunk is from a true expert – the captain of the Altersteam airship, watch (if their modesty allowed them) an overview of the undergarment trends of the 19th century, learn the inner workings of the revolutionary invention of Mr. Abraham Bell – the telephone – watch the ballet, present their own garments during the collective fashion show, listen to the marvelous concert on an enchanted harp, watch “The Morrow Lost” – first Polish steampunk motion picture…
And in the evening (after all, evening is also after noon) surrender themself to the Moon’s reign – listen to the true story of Grimm brothers, watch the moon waltz and finally (if they were brave enough) listen to the gothic-like murky memoirs of Wilhelmina Harker, accompanied by three appealingly dark but nevertheless extremely disquieting girls of indeterminable age and origin… It’s sufficient to say that we are not sure the same amount of people entered the chapel and then left it after the performance…
It is difficult to briefly summarize everything that happened that day. It is also difficult to describe what it felt like to find ourselves all of a sudden among characters from an age long gone – with some of them it was hard to believe that they are not just products of someone’s imagination…
Briefly we can say one thing: Golden Afternoon was beautiful and will live in our memory for the entire next year in lively, bright colors Before they fade we hope to be able to start our huge wondrous Time Machine again to take us back into the marvelous corners of the 19th century.
We wanted (for the second time this year) to show how interesting, unusual and diverse era the nineteenth century was, in which fascination with everything exotic, unknown and eerie was matched only by a great belief in the technological development, power of human mind and progress. We hope we succeeded to do that more or less.
We – as organizers – want to say “thank you” to all who helped us create this magnificent, unique space-time and to all who entered it together with us and accompanied us in our wondrous travel. We thank you and say: “See you next year!”
Director of the Golden Afternoon
Nomina Rosae Foundation
See the photos from the picnic:
Golden Afternoon’s Facebook fanpage