Brownies get points for politeness at Mad Hatter tea Croquet, carrot jam featured at party

April 19, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

On most Sunday afternoons, 7-year-old Jennifer Choi bounces, skips and runs outside. But yesterday, she was one of 50 young girls who held glasses like young ladies and played croquet at the Second Annual Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Town Center.

The Columbia Association sponsored the tea party for girls from noon to 2 p.m. at Oakland, a federal-style mansion surrounded by gardens on Vantage Point Road.

Most of the girls were from Brownie Troop 2691 in Silver Spring, and wore spring-colored floral dresses and head bows. The Brownies were trying to earn their manners badges by practicing table manners and politeness.

In the historic building's ballroom, after hearing passages from "Stuart Little," they drank tea or lemonade and ate cream cheese and preserves, cucumber tea sandwiches, almond and lemon fruit breads or fresh fruits.

Jennifer, dressed in her Brownie uniform, said the day was good. "I learned that you have to wait long for the food," said the second-grader at Stonegate Elementary School in Silver Spring. "You have to put a napkin in your lap and wipe your face with the napkin."

As Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" filled the air, Dorothy West, 7, won a drawing for a china tea set. Her mother, Laura West, 46, of Silver Spring, said the tea party "was an excellent experience. It teaches them manners and how to sit still."

Roslyn Lee, a volunteer coordinator for the tea party, said the event grew out of the adult teas given the second and third Thursdays of each month. "We didn't have much to offer children" at the historic building, where weddings, business meetings and private parties are held, she said.

The tea party gives them something classy to do, Ms. Lee said. "It's a return of a bygone era."

The children's tea party was so popular that 76 names remained on a waiting list, Ms. Lee said. It may be repeated in the fall. The fee for the party was $6.50 for 3- to 9-year-olds, and $7.25 for adults.

Outside, Jennifer Helgeson, 9, noted croquet takes a lot of concentration, and said the carrot jams were delicious. "It's a real nice opportunity to see all these things and be able to act so grown up," she said.

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