A festive crowd flooded the American Visionary Art Museum's sculpture barn. On a sea of bobbing heads sailed a most interesting and creative flotilla of headgear. This was, after all, "The Mad Hatter Party" benefiting Health Education Resource Organization. A gaggle of gigantic butterflies danced about one contestant's head, while an upside-down colander decorated with various kitchen utensils topped another. Cindy and Kerry Plackmeyer clearly had their jobs in mind. Cindy, Ryland Homes marketing manager, balanced a house on her head, while Kerry, operations manager for WBAL and 98 Rock Radio, carried the case of an antique radio on his.
The "Alice in Wonderland" theme was in particular abundance. Alice (aka Donna Turner) and the Queen of Hearts (Tori Anderson) served drinks to a crowd heavily sprinkled with rabbit ears and crowns. However, the tiara worn by Temisha Kinard, Miss Baltimore 2002, may have been the only one that was legit.
Included in the 325 at this fantastical "tea party": Tina Lazar, event chair; Carl Keyes, Chuck Blackledge, Erin Thalheim and Victor Fusco, event committee members; Joseph Anastasio, HERO board president; Wayman Merrick, HERO board member; Dr. Leonardo R. Ortega, HERO executive director; Carl F. Gamble, FDIC attorney: Renee Olson, Key School teacher; Stanley and Harriet Berlin, Artistic Costumes & Dance Fashions co-owners; Courtney Garton, Hats in the Belfry owner; Michelle Stetz, Port Discovery marketing manager; Elizabeth Massing, Agora Publishing personnel specialist; Jeff Rubin, Print Graphics sales manager; Jim Turner, Turner's of Federal Hill owner; Craig Smith, Johns Hopkins University associate registrar; Stacey Barish, Baltimore artist; Hilary Laytham, Ortho Biotech product specialist; Dan Keplinger, Baltimore area artist; Carla Bailey, Ober Kaler attorney; Amy Leasure, Piper Marbury attorney; Samantha Stark, Campbell Group promotions director; Linda Campbell Franklin, Baltimore-based writer / illustrator; Kevin and Patricia Morton, Hidden Bean co-owners; and Maggie Shannon, Aramark office manager.
The trip down this rabbit hole raised almost $30,000 raised for HERO's HIV / AIDS support services.