Lakeland Senior Center was transformed into a 1900s Edwardian country house dining room for the Downton Abbey Christmas Tea on Dec. 1, with antique-style decorations covering the tables and trimming the tree.
A dozen or so lavish tea pots filled with a variety of hot teas added to the décor of the room. More than 20 ladies from the Center’s crafting classes attending the tea took it to another level by dressing to the hilt for the event.
As they enter each was received a warm “Welcome to Downton Abbey,” greeting.
Many of the hats worn by the ladies were made or decorated with artificial flowers, lace and other embellishments during a recent hat-making class leading up to the tea. Jamae James made her frilly hat using a paper plate and lots and lots of flowers and mesh. Her creativity earned second-place in the Best Hat Contest.
First-place went to Molly McDaniel in her elegant green hat with waving peacock feathers.
Third-place winner was Ann Barnum, who wore a simple straw hat covered in spring flowers and ribbon that she also dolled up during the recent crafting class.
Wearing a sophisticated black hat with a matching short veil was fourth-place winner Linda Barry.
They were looking like royalty as they sipped their tea and enjoyed a menu filled with fancy finger sandwiches and scones along with elegant desserts including cream puffs, madeleines, brownies and fresh berries, most of which were made fresh by Penny Monroe and Karen Parsley. Monroe and Parsley voluntarily instruct many of Center’s crafting classes.
They paired up to host the Christmas Tea for their fellow crafting friends.
“It was something we wanted to do as a group,” said Monroe. “Many of us are Downton Abbey fans and gathered to see the movie when it came out. Afterwards we came up with the idea to host a tea for the crafting group.”
The crafty instructors took on the role of serving their friends during the event. Monroe made the hats and aprons that they wore just for the occasion.
The cherry on top was the entertainment provided by Creative Aging. Harpist, Barbara Christensen, who selected English music from that time period to play throughout the tea.
“This is such a special group of ladies,” said Kim Odom. “They are so gifted and giving. Like other volunteers at the Center, they share their talents and hobbies with the crafting group. Our Center is blessed to have talented people willing to volunteer their time here every week. That’s why when they approached me with the idea to host a tea, I couldn’t say no. I also couldn’t help myself but to join them as a servant for the day. The whole event was such a delight for everyone.”
With a smile, she continued, “I think the Crawley family would be impressed.”