Downton Abbey tea party to benefit Community Services

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER

The public is cordially invited to attend the fourth annual tea party to benefit Southington Community Services is on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Hawks Landing Country Club.

This year’s, the event will have a Victorian, Downton Abbey-theme.

“Every year we do a theme,” said event co-organizer Patty Boissonneault. “My partner Diana Sheard is a huge fan of Downton Abbey, and it seems to be a popular series. The more women we talk to about it, the more it seems like we chose the right theme.”

Last year, 110 people attended the tea party, and the event raised approximately $1,000 for Southington Community Services.

“We’re hoping to get even more people this year,” said Boissonneault. “A lot of the people are repeat guests from previous years. It really grew through people telling their friends about it and bringing them.”

Event organizers Boissonneault and Diana Sheard are promising that this year’s event is “not your mama’s tea party.” Instead, it will offer “laced up traditions, infused with modern-day fun.”

The two said that they may tone down the decorations in comparison to prior years, because the venue doesn’t need much.

“We usually go crazy with decorations,” said Boissonneault. “This year it’s at Hawks Landing Country Club. It’s such a beautiful venue, so we’re really just focusing on the centerpieces.”

She said she has made Edwardian era centerpieces from vintage glass and china for the tea party.

“It’s like a vintage glass tower that you would put in your garden or on your kitchen table,” said Boissoneault.

There will also be vintage books, hats, hat boxes, and a surprise for all the Downton Abbey fans.

“There’s one surprise we can’t reveal yet, but it’s going to be a really fun treat in keeping with the Downton Abbey theme,” she said.

In addition to all the vintage props, there’s going to be some entertainment at the event.

The main feature is the Victorian Lady Kandie Carle, who does an interactive show and tell highlighting Victorian attire.

“I’ve seen her before. She’s a lot of fun because she gets the audience involved,” said Boissonneault. “She takes off the appropriate garments and explains what the garment is and what it was used for during that period—like for example, ‘bloomers’.”

Those who attend are invited to dress up in Victorian attire if they’d like to, but it is not a requirement.

“Some women are planning out their outfits for this occasion,” said Boissonneault. “A lot of them really want to do it up. Some women love a reason to get dressed up or into costume and not just women; we’ve had some men come in the past, too.”

For others, it’s more about the social aspect.

“Women are looking to spend an evening having a good time with their friends and a lot of people come to support the Southington Community Services,” said the event organizer.

Boissonneault also said she’s already received reservations from two or three groups, from the Red Hat Society to groups from local churches.

There will be a raffle with prizes, sandwiches, sweets and a cash bar will be available for the event. The Victorian Tea, Downtown Abbey-Style, costs $25 per person to attend.

Reservations are required to attend this event and payment secures a reservation. For reservations, call Boissonneault at (860) 276-3370 or Sheard at (860) 793-2765.

Hawks Landing Country Club is located at 201 Pattonwood Drive and is handicapped accessible.

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