Jubilee 89

A sparkling soirée.

The Club’s greatest tradition kicks off our 89th year.

By Mae Jacobson

In the cool, cool of a winter evening, the brilliant blue song of a saxophone drifts down Sixth Avenue, rustling the edges of sequined gowns, sneaking through clasped hands, and fading deep into the dark of downtown. The sun has set and holiday lights twinkle to life in the bare trees. From the warmth of the WAC Clubhouse, the seductive siren of Jubilee, a WAC tradition like no other, calls again …

Every year, Jubilee offers a chance to celebrate the holidays in style. But this black-tie gala isn’t just about the season. It’s also about toasting the WAC’s anniversary. This year’s event marks the start of the Club’s 89th year. Join the festivities on Friday, November 30, as a glittery elegance takes over the Clubhouse and 800 of your closest friends drink, dine, dance, gamble, and otherwise carouse at Seattle’s “it” party of the year.

“It’s all about getting decked out in your best dress, making memories, and just letting the night take you wherever it might,” says Mary Ellen Jilek, a WAC senior event manager and Jubilee’s party planner.

Reserve your Jubilee tickets here

This year’s event will take on a wintry hue with ice-themed decor and a twinkling style that will carry from room to room. “It wouldn’t be a party without some amazing decorations,” Mary Ellen says. “This year, the glow and luster of winter will be in full effect.”

For many members, Jubilee is the one party they can’t miss. Member Laura Laun attended her first Jubilee 10 years ago as a guest and was stunned by the evening’s glitz and glamour. She joined the WAC a few years later and, along with husband Duane, has become a Jubilee regular. “We always invite our close friends and family to enjoy the magic of the evening with us,” she says. “We love to start the night with a toast in the lobby while we keep our fingers crossed and hope we win the grand prize.”

The grand prize

This year, one lucky winner will take home a brand-new Jaguar as the Club continues the Jubilee tradition of raffling off a new ride. You’ll want to be there as the winner’s name is read and champagne glasses clink in celebration.

“It’s crazy to see how excited the winners get,” Mary Ellen says. “You don’t have to be there to win, but it sure makes for one heck of a night if you are.”

Member Chelsey Nelson quickly became a Jubilee regular after joining the WAC a few years back. She and a group of friends leave work early on Friday to get their hair and makeup done and check into the Inn at the WAC.

“It’s so fun to just ride the elevator down once we’re ready,” she says. “We mingle in the lobby and make sure to take our annual photo next to the Christmas tree.”

Little traditions like this imbue Jubilee with a sense of anticipation. For many members, the start of the evening is the only absolute. “Jubilee is so full of surprises it’s impossible to know what’s next,” Mary Ellen says.

After the anniversary toast and grand prize announcement, it’s really up to you—and the whims of the evening.

This year, you might begin by exploring street food from around the world in the Johnson Lobby Lounge. Fragrant tacos al pastor, herbaceous banh mi, and flavorful jerk chicken are just a few of the delicious dishes you’ll find.

From there, you can take it to the next level—literally. Head up the grand staircase to the 2nd Floor, where you’ll find vocalist and bassist Marina Christopher serenading the crowd in Torchy’s. Step inside and you’ll see elegant ice sculptures and a seafood spread no mortal can resist. Oyster lovers, be warned—we’ll have five varieties to try!

But don’t fill up on seafood just yet. As you mingle your way through the party and up to the 3rd Floor, you’ll find sweet and savory dining pop-ups with little surprises you’re sure to love. Nosh and sip on their offerings as you wander from room to room, making memories with photo portraits in the Meisnest Room or unveiling your future with fortune tellers in the Heritage Room.

Roll the dice

For Chelsey Nelson, the mystical appeal of having her handwriting read or tarot cards cast is a party highlight with one main rival.

“Gambling in the Crystal Ballroom is by far my favorite,” she says. “You get to meet new people at the tables and learn the games in a casual environment. Better yet, you might just win some money!”

The Jubilee casino—complete with blackjack, craps and roulette—will once again take over the Crystal Ballroom on the 3rd Floor, and this year’s ice-themed decor is sure to add a sparkling touch to the already elegant space. Just remember, the casino is cash only!

“Once the casino opens, it’s the heart of the party,” Mary Ellen says. “But don’t get stuck. There are three floors of dining, entertainment, and surprises.”

Consider Hagerty’s on the 2nd Floor, where a veritable farmers market awaits with local cheeses, fresh wild Alaska salmon, and a bounty of beautiful greens. Or head to the Noble Room on the 1st Floor, where beer garden fare is sure to be a hit.

As for entertainment, it’s up to you! Karaoke Kurt was a huge hit in 2017 and returns for another year. Find him in Hagerty’s and prepare for your performance of a lifetime. Or, if you’re less American Idol and more So You Think You Can Dance, boogie on down to the Noble Room, where deejay Chris Graves will spin dance tracks well past midnight.

“It’s such an entertaining evening,” Laura Laun says. “We always enjoy a little dancing, some singing, and a bit of gambling. We just love seeing all the different rooms.”

WAC Membership All-Star Barton Housman and wife Ashley spent their first night away from their infant son for last year’s Jubilee. “We always enjoy the party,” Barton says. “We usually bring a few guests, too. They never cease to be amazed with the ambience, food and entertainment.”

It’s not uncommon for attendees to say they barely recognize the Clubhouse, and introducing guests to the WAC at the “it” party of the year often leads to sponsoring those folks as new members.

“It’s great fun seeing the Club completely transformed,” Barton says. “And I get the awesome task of introducing newcomers to the incredible event that is Jubilee.”

Invitation only

All members are invited. Official invitations arrive in early November. Guests are welcome by member invitation.

Party pricing

Reserve by November 14: $150 members, $175 guests.

Reserve after November 14: $170 members, $195 guests.

Cancel by November 20.

Fashion sense

In perhaps the most casual city on the West Coast, your opportunities to dress up can be few and far between. Go all out for Jubilee! Here’s a crash course.

  • Black tie: Characterized by or requiring the wearing of formal evening clothes consisting of a usually black tie and tuxedo for men and a formal dress for women.
  • Think texture: Faux fur, twinkling sequins, plush velvets, brocade ties … you get the idea.
  • Accessorize: There’s no such thing as overdressed when it comes to Jubilee. For accessories, think chic and sophisticated. And remember, this is a winter party, so the more sparkle the better!
  • Hair and makeup: Perfect your look with a visit to the Spa at the WAC. Our stylists and aestheticians book early for Jubilee. To reserve: 206.464.3090, wacspa@wac.net.
  • Go old school: Party like it’s 1930! Slinky evening gowns, double-breasted suits, matching jewelry sets, and French cuffs are cool classics that are still in vogue. Dress to impress!

Grand prize

Buy chances to win the Jubilee grand prize—a 2018 Jaguar XE 25t Premium AWD in black, on display in the Club lobby through November. Order chances by Thursday, November 29. On sale in the lobby or through Club Programs: 206.464.3060, clubprograms@wac.net.

  • Full boards (52 chances), $50
  • Half boards (26 chances), $30
  • Single chances, $5 each

Only members may enter. Grand prize winner announced at Jubilee. Need not be present to win.

—Mae Jacobson is WAC Magazine Associate Editor. Contact her at mjacobson@wac.net.

As published in the November/December 2018 issue of WAC Magazine.

—Posted October 30, 2018