Jack London State Historic Park’s Fundraiser Celebrates the Author and his Wife in 1920s Style

The spirit of Charmian London, author Jack London’s irrepressible wife, was invoked on September 25 as more than 320 guests were welcomed to Charmian’s Wild Call, a gala fundraising event at Jack London State Historic Park. Attendees at the event (the name is a play on the title of Jack London’s most notable book, The Call of the Wild) were transported back to the year 1926, ten years after Jack’s passing and during the height of the roaring 20’s.

performers jack london fundraiser
Photo by Snap Fiesta.

The highly imaginative and interactive event was developed by Gregangelo’s Velocity Entertainment. Guests, many of whom arrived in period and “ranch casual” attire, met talented performers portraying Charmian London, Harry Houdini, Sigmund Freud and Coco Chanel before and during dinner.

Following a delicious family-style meal by Elaine Bell Catering, entertainment was provided by Charmian, Houdini, Freud, a dance troupe, and a live band. A Jack London impersonator made an appearance to sing a heartfelt duet of “Wind Beneath My Wings” with his wife.

The event raised $550,000 for the non-profit Jack London Park Partners, one of the first non-profit organizations to be entrusted with management of a state park on behalf of the people of California. Jack London State Historic Park sits on 1,400 acres originally owned by Jack London and houses a number of historic buildings, sites and miles of hiking trails.

Mike Benziger, chairman of the Jack London Park Partners Board of Directors, asked for the crowd’s support, saying, “Help us make this a place where all can come and not only get inspired, but also give back to keep this valley healthy and thriving.”

Former Sonoma Alcalde Marcelo Defreitas, creative director of Gregangelo’s Velocity Entertainment, led the evening’s fund-a-need drive, resulting in donations from more than 200 people.

creative director Marcelo Defreitas and Chairman
Creative director Marcelo Defreitas and Charmian. Photo by SonomaSlife.

“The evening turned out even better than I’d imagined,” says Liz Fisher, gala chair. “The opportunity for the community to come together in person after so long created tremendous energy. Their love for the park was beautifully expressed in their attendance and support.”

flapper dancers
Flapper dancers. Photo by Hiromi Yoshida.

During their 11-year marriage, Charmian was much more than Jack’s wife and muse.  She was his traveling companion and co-adventurer, trusted editor, and an author in her own right. After Jack’s death in 1916, Charmian lived the rest of her life — another 39 years — at the home they shared, known to them as Beauty Ranch. She acted as steward of Jack’s legacy and manager of his literary assets while developing her own writing career. She continued to travel and lead a vibrant social life, just as she had during her life with Jack.

Event sponsors and supporters included Elizabeth Fisher and Malcolm Walter, Diana and Peter Ferris, Donna Halow and Paul Luca, First Republic Private Wealth Management, Elaine Bell Catering, Illusions Lighting, and the Vintage Kennel Club.

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A freelance writer in Marin who writes about family, kids and parenting, Glass is the mother to one son, one dog and a hamster named Miss Geri. When shes not writing, trekking up steep hills in Marin or driving her kid to sports practice, she and her family spend time in their tiny cabin in Lake Tahoe. She avidly supports the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to Bay Area seniors and disabled adults. Glass is obsessed with baking the perfect loaf of banana bread, something she makes so often she no longer needs to look at a recipe card.