The Music of the 1894 Midwinter Fair: a Soiree and Performance | Mechanics' Institute

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The Music of the 1894 Midwinter Fair: a Soiree and Performance

Join us and the San Francisco Historical Society for a soiree that samples the music played at the fair: waltzes, marches, polkas and more! Midwinter Fair historian Ed Herny will provide historical context and the pieces will be performed and sung by pianist Frederick Hodges and vocalist Noah Griffin.  

The event will include light refreshments, a no-host bar serving beer and wine, and a raffle featuring six authentic Midwinter Fair souvenirs.

Before the performance, we encourage you to visit the Midwinter Fair exhibit in the Library on the second floor. Ed Herny will be available at 5:00 to answer your questions and provide context to the pieces on display.

Space is limited—register soon!  

Period dress encouraged.

Doors open at 5:30; program begins at 6:00.

Program includes:

Five Waltzes: "Electric Tower Waltz," "Key of Golden Gate Waltz," "The Electric Tower," "Midwinter Fair Waltz," and "California Midwinter Exposition Waltzes"

Six Marches: "Our Great Midwinter Fair," "Vienna Prater March," "Midwinter Fair March," "Midwinter International Exposition March," "Our Golden Winter Fair." and "Midwinter Exposition March"

Two Polkas: "Midwinter Fair Polka" and "Midwinter Exposition Polka"

One Polka-March: "Gold Gulch" and One Tarantella: "Midwinter Exposition Tarantella"

Two additional musical novelties: "Turkish Muscle Dances" and "The Gum Girl"

(Illustration by Charles Graham, 1894)

2019 marks the 125th anniversary of the California Midwinter International Exposition, commonly known as the Midwinter Fair. Held in Golden Gate Park, the fair featured more than 100 buildings and hosted 2.5 million visitors over six months in 1894. At the fair one got to see the latest innovations of arts, culture, manufacturing, industry, and agriculture; and hear glorious music!

Frederick Hodges, Concert Pianist --- Hailed in the press as one of the best concert pianists in the world, Frederick Hodges has established a reputation specializing in late romantic music as well as Ragtime, Broadway, and Hollywood musicals of the first half of the twentieth century. He maintains a busy concert schedule of stage, television, radio, and film appearances around the globe. His website is:



Noah Griffin, Vocalist -- Noah Griffin is a native San Franciscan who, after graduation from Washington High School, earned his BA in history from Fisk University and his JD from Harvard Law. Noah spent 45 years in government, politics, and media. Noah is currently a monthly columnist for the Marin Independent Journal. He serves on the Buck Family Fund and is founder of the Cole Porter Society.



Ed Herny: Historian, Archivist, and Ephemerist -- Ed Herny has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Historical Society since its creation in 1978. He is President of the San Francisco Post Card Club and the co-author of two books: Berkeley Bohemia -- Artists and Visionaries of the Early 20th Century and Picturing Berkeley.


Mechanics' Institute Members $25
SF Historical Society Members $25
Western Neighborhoods Project Members $25
Public $30
Register now ›
4th Floor Meeting Room
Taryn Edwards - 415-393-0103
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

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