The Fifties Fair is an annual vintage festival held at the historic Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga. For one day a year, the grounds of the modernist house are transformed into a 1950s playground with live rockabilly music, swing dancing, vintage stalls, and the highest concentration of froufy skirts you might ever see.
Rose Seidler House
The Fair is the biggest day of the year for vintage devotees in Sydney, and they come out to Rose Seidler House in full force. Fashions on the field are exquisite, and the best-frocked visitors enter into the running for the hotly-contested Miss Fifties Fair title.
Strutting down the Fifties Fair stage is the closest I've ever come to feeling truly paparazzo-d. Dress up and you'll find yourself immortalised on every camera phone from here to Newcastle.
Strutting my stuff, circa 2011.
There are also best-dressed categories for men, couples and entire families. You've seen nothing until you've seen a four person strong family decked out in matching vintage. The competition is gay-friendly, with queer sweethearts alongside straight couples in the running.
Vintage family portrait
If you're a swing dancer, you'll want to rock-step down to the stage where the dance-inclined can lindy-hop way into the afternoon. You'll find willing partners aplenty, plus a day-long program of rockabilly music. And if you don't dance, it's still pretty damn impressive to watch from the sidelines.
Dancers mid-lindy hop
Car enthusiasts will be happy to find a line-up of hot rods around the ground of Rose Seidler House. The mint condition vehicles on display belong to some serious vintage car aficionados. If you're on the lookout, you might even spot some more prize vehicles parked in the surrounding streets.
It all makes for a very unique spectacle. The Fifties Fair is an opportunity to live out all your 1950s lifestyle fantasies. Leave the bad bits of the 50s behind, and celebrate the beautiful excess of this era.
Over the years I've been attending the Fifties Fair, I've watched it grow in popularity more and more each time. The crowds are now immense, and you'll have to pre-book tickets to ride this time machine. It's worth it for the totally overwhelming, magical experience.
Polish your dance shoes, hepcats.
Where: Rose Seidler House, 71 Clissold Rd, Wahroonga. A free bus shuttle service runs from Turramurra station all day.
Why: To embrace your 1950s alter ego.
Cost: $30, pre-booked tickets only
Good for kids: Come one, come all! The Fifties Fair runs cute activities for kids and future rockabillies alongside the regular program.