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Brothel Days

One Montana miner said: “Many’s the miner who’d never wash his face or comb his hair, if it wasn’t for thinkin’ of the sportin’ girls he might meet in the saloon.” The Bale of Hay Saloon will present a tribute to these working women, both Prostitutes and Hurdy-Gurdy Girls.

Saturday at 1pm Ellen Baumler, Historian for the Montana Historical Society will present: Virginia City’s Silent Sisters: The Oldest Profession from the 1860’s to 1930’s.

Bed races will commence at 4pm, each team must have a person dressed in “proper attire” on the bed and race up the street against another team. Get your five person teams together and join the fun, prizes for best team name and fastest bed!

Lace up your corsets and put on your finest for the costume party at 9:30pm. We are having a dance in honor of the hurdy-gurdy houses and hurdy-gurdy girls or hurdies as they were known. Hurdy-gurdy houses, as described by Seagraves, “had a bar on one side and dance floor on the other as well as a hallway with several small rooms in the rear. These rooms were rented to the customers who wanted more than a dance, and to the hurdy-gurdy girls who chose to entertain a man after, or during working hours. Not all of these girls were prostitutes; most earned a good salary from dancing and serving drinks.” The dancing itself was free, but the customer was required to pay a dollar for a drink for himself and his partner after each dance.

For this event, you can dress as a hurdy-gurdy girl or more risqué as a “working girl”. Buying a drink for yourself and your partner is optional and there will be prizes for best dressed participants. Playing for the costume party is Fools Gold from Ennis MT. Their music spans three decades and includes country, blues and classic rock. This dance band will have the floor filled all night!