Galveston’s vintage past meets present-day fun for the 11th Annual Galveston Island Beach Revue. Presented by Hotel Galvez & Spa® and held at Beach Central, 2102 Seawall Blvd., this year’s revue will be held on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18. The annual revue showcases vintage-inspired fun, headlined by the Bathing Beauties contest, next to Galveston’s historic shoreline. Admission is free to the revue and complete information is available at www.galvestonbeachrevue.com.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for GHF to be involved in Beach Revue this year,” explains Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “This event is a fun and inspirational time to revisit an old island tradition. It celebrates the beach and our tourism industry all with a nod to our fascinating history.”
The Galveston Island Beach Revue was started in 2009, by Islander By Choice, LLC., in direct-response to Hurricane Ike. It became one of Galveston Historical Foundation’s annual events in 2019.
Dubbed the “Pageant of Pulchritude” by C.E. Barfield, Galveston’s Bathing Beauties Contest began in the summer of 1920 and marked the kick-off for tourist season each year. By 1928, the event, which had morphed into the “bathing girl revue” had become so popular, the Island’s population was said to have tripled during the event weekend. These Island pageants were the beginning of what we know today as the Miss Universe Pageant. The famed Galveston Bathing Beauties pageants ended in 1932 due in part to the Great Depression and were resurrected in 2009. The event’s location, held across from the Hotel Galvez & Spa®, is footsteps away from its original location in the early 1920s.
Always a crowd favorite, the weekend’s main event is the Bathing Beauties Contest. Retro swimwear is chic and vintage is king as contestants from across the country catwalk while modeling vintage and vintage-inspired swimwear and accessories that echo the “good ole days” of Galveston’s summertime history. Classic pinup styles, the likes that Esther Williams, Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page made famous, heat up the beaches as 30 contestants vie for cash prizes and top honors.
Revue Prevue Kickoff at Hotel Galvez & Spa®
Galveston’s iconic “Queen of the Gulf”, Hotel Galvez & Spa®, 2024 Seawall Blvd., opens its doors for a special night of curated music, craft beer, speakeasy-inspired cocktails and more as part of a Friday Night Revue Prevue on May 17. This kickoff will feature the first public introductions of the 2019 Bathing Beauties at 6:30 p.m. and is hosted by Dandy Wellington from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and vintage attire is encouraged. Guests in their vintage best will be up for consideration to win a coveted Beach Revue winner’s sash for “Best Vintage Dressed”.
Bands & Bombshells Concerts
The 11th Annual Galveston Island Beach Revue isn’t just great competitors and vintage cars. It’s also a stage for vintage and vintage-inspired music. Participating artists and musicians for 2019 include:
Swimwear Department - Swimwear Department’s songs are all inspired by their name. When the band shot its 2018 Tiny Desk Contest entry in a pool, NPR’s Marissa Lorusso called the Houston four-piece’s obsessive commitment to only writing songs about swimming holes and shopping malls “delightfully on-brand.” Their live shows feature crowd-sourced backing vocals and dance contests. Their debut album, Turn Over! Go Under! is peppered with moments of sincere nostalgia for bygone summer swims and cool mall strolls. Reminding listeners that everything changes, but there’s always fun to be had. Learn more at www.swimweardepartment.band.
The Broken Spokes - Free Press Houston’s David Garrick sums it up with “There was a time when country music had less pop and a lot less sheen, reserved for honky-tonks and dancehalls. In today’s crowded music landscape, it’s become hard and harder to find traditional country acts, but Houston’s Broken Spokes are as traditional as the genre gets. Full of twangy guitars and honkytonk undertones, the five-piece makes the kind of country music that would make Johnny Cash and Hank Thompson proud.” Learn more at www.brokenspokesmusic.com.
Dandy Wellington - Inspired by the Big Band Era of Jazz, Dandy Wellington and his Band have taken the sounds of the 1930s and 40s and created a world of well-dressed music. With a passion for obscure songs steeped in the Jazz tradition, Dandy Wellington has assembled a catalog of music that invokes an atmosphere of the class. From the golden age of cinema to the bounce of New Orleans, each song is hand selected and played to perfection by a band cut from the cloth of elegance. This year marks the fourth year of Dandy’s participation at the Galveston Island Beach Revue. Learn more at www.dandywellington.com.
Beach Revue Whisker Review
The fine folks with the Austin Facial Hair club know a thing or two when it comes to face follicles. They’re bringing their years of experience to this year’s event to host the new Beach Revue Whisker Review. Competitions will be held beginning at 3 p.m. in Best Handlebar, Best Natural Dapper ‘Stache, and Best Barbell ‘Stache. Dress to impress and bring your best and you just might find yourself going home with one of their coveted awards.
Classic Auto Group Hot Rod & Classic Car Show
Hot rods, rat rods, vintage trailers and more line up to take part in the Galveston Island Beach Hot Rod + Classic Car show on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. at Beach Central, 2102 Seawall Blvd. Admission is free for the general public to view the cars and is part of a full day of vintage-inspired programming. Car and trailer owners can register online at www.gavestonbeachrevue.com. Registration is limited to cars from 1975 or older.
Food & Vintage Vendors
Beach Revue 2019 expands this year with food trucks, novelty options, and the return of our vintage vendor area. Featuring can’t-miss vintage and vintage-inspired items, this specially curated vendor market will be available for shopping from noon – 7 p.m. (or until the end of the Bathing Beauties Contest) on Saturday, May 18.