Last year, I was lucky enough to spend a day at the Huntington, a place to see rare books, great artwork, and spectacular botanical gardens, all while enjoying Southern California weather.
What could make this paradise on earth even more paradisiacal? If you’re thinking “experiencing all of this while wearing Regency costume,” then you’re in luck: This coming Sunday is something called Unofficial Jane Austen Day at the Huntington, wherein people who like Austenian cosplay convene for a stroll around the site.
Unofficial Jane Austen Day seems to have been going on since at least 2019, under the sponsorship of Pasadena’s Historical Tea and Dance Society, whose events feature dancing from a range of historical periods, not just the Regency.
The Huntington owns its share of valuable Austen-related material, but it's not sponsoring the upcoming Jane Austen Day--that's why the event is officially Unofficial. Accordingly, the day won’t include dancing: “This is an unofficial community ‘meet-up’ event for friendship's sake,” the Society’s Facebook page explains. “There is no public dancing or picnicking allowed at the Huntington.”
The ban on picnicking I understand, but--no public dancing? Frankly, this seems like an unfortunate omission on the Huntington’s part. Surely, any true earthly paradise should permit dancing for joy! I guess every Eden has to have its snake.