tea-party-Kim-PooveyMother’s Day Victorian Tea Party will take place at the St. Helena Island Library Branch

The Friends of the Library: Beaufort, Lobeco and St. Helena Branches (FOL) is about to bring the Victorian era into the Lowcountry one cup of tea at a time. At least for one special day, that is!

Belinda Jones, Chair of the Children’s Programs for the Friends, is lead organizer of what the FOL hopes will become an annual event brimming with history, tradition, and delightful refreshments. The Mother’s Day Victorian Tea will take place on Saturday, May 10 from 2 pm to 3:30 pm at the St. Helena Island library branch located at 6355 Jonathan Francis Senior Road on St. Helena Island.

Jones plans on transforming the library community room into an elegant Victorian tearoom, the perfect place to celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, aunts and mentors for all they do. More than just a delicious respite, the tea will also include live music, instruction in the components of a ‘proper tea’, a history on the language of the fan and an historical re-enactment.

Jones added, “This event will provide boys and girls the opportunity to honor their mothers or femaletea-party-Sheldon-Family-Farm role models in a special setting. Through the performances of special guests and the traditions of afternoon tea, we will present a unique cultural program in an atmosphere that will encourage attendees to experience something new and have a wonderful time, on several levels.”

The tea is free and open to boys and girls, aged 4 to 16. Refreshments will include traditional menu items served during a proper tea including scones, finger sandwiches, cakes and various teas from Charleston Tea Plantation (located on neighboring John’s Island, SC).

Special guests performances include Kim Poovey (pictured above), historic re-enactress and author of historic fiction set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, who will present the guests with a performance of Emma Brown from her own book, Truer Words. Kim is also a Victorian tea connoisseur and will demonstrate the art of brewing and serving a proper cup of tea for the guests.

“The elegance of the Victorian era is best experienced clad in period fashion while sipping a steaming cup of Earl Grey,” Poovey says. “The art of taking tea is a peaceful diversion of long ago and a practice currently undergoing a revival.”

She is eager to bring the ritual and tradition of the afternoon tea to a whole new generation and pairing with the FOL at the library location is ideal. “Of course, nothing pairs better with a cup of tea than a good book – one that transports the reader back in time to a gentler, simpler way of life. These traditions are meant to be shared and passed on to future generations,” she added.

Performance arts graduate student Meagan Jones will also give a presentation on the ‘language of the fan’ and the significance of this accessory during the Victorian era. The 18th century was the heyday of the fan and it was an essential accessory in a stuffy, crowded ballroom. There were fans for every occasion, and they were one of the earliest tourist souvenirs, painted or printed with picturesque landscapes and topical allusions.

18th century ladies used the fan for more than just keeping cool: they used it as a form of expression. More than any other article of fashion, the fan became part an intrinsic part of a lady’s body language. It could reveal (or conceal) a whole range of emotions covering a whole range of emotions, from affairs of the heart to political statements!

Musical entertainment during the Tea will be provided by Belinda Blue, cellist. Belinda is the Lobeco Library Branch Manager, non-professional cellist and past member of the Summerville Community Orchestra who plans to play a selection of classical and popular pieces, including 18th century melodies indicative of the Victorian period. There will also be door prizes, including a gift basket donated by Sheldon Family Farm and Dairy.

All participants are requested to dress their best for this elegant afternoon social event, although Victorian style clothing is NOT required. Female guests should wear a tea length or at the knee and below dress or skirt. Hats and gloves may also be worn but are not required. Proper attire for male guests is a dress shirt and tie with a suit jacket, if possible.

Registration for the tea is required by Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 and can be made in person at any of the three branch libraries; downtown Beaufort, Lobeco or St. Helena Island; or by emailing Belinda Jones directly: mothersdayvictoriantea@gmail.com. Registration must include:

• First and last names and age of each child
• First and last names of the mother/female guest
• Total number of guests in your group

Library patrons should be on the lookout for special activities at the library leading up to the Mother’s Day Victorian Tea and more information will be posted at each library branch through the registration period.