Tea and themed tables for Charmettes

The “Love” table tied for first place for creativity and beauty at the All Occasion Tea Party hosted by the Alachua County Charmettes Inc.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.

The ladies were dressed to the nines and the themed tables were spectacular at the All Occasion Tea Party, an afternoon event that drew local women to join forces to raise funds for cancer research and scholarships.

Hosted by the Alachua County Charmettes Inc., a social and community service organization, the tea party, attended by 96 women, was held last Saturday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Bettye Baskin, vice president of the Charmettes, said local women were invited to participate in the tea party. They hosted and decorated themed tables and also invited guests, who made contributions to cancer research and scholarships for high school senior girls in Alachua County.

The titles of the themed tables included Love, Easter, Rhinestone Cowgirl, Wedding, Angel, Black and Bling, Christmas, July 4th, Mardi Gras, Summer, St. Patrick's Day and Red Hat Divas.

The tables were judged for creativity and beauty by Cottie Wright of Gainesville, Leanetta McNealy, queen of the Red Hat Divas, and Vivian Filer, a member of the Red Hat Divas.

First place for creativity and beauty went to the "Love" table, with Baskin as captain, and the "Wedding" table, with co-captains Nicole Clemons and the Rev. Mary Mitchell, pastor of Bartley Temple United Methodist Church. The "Wedding" table also won for the most monetary contributions.

Second place for creativity went to the "Rhinestone Cowgirls" table, with Priscilla Jenkins, queen of the Prissy Pink Hatters, as captain. Third place for beauty went to the "Easter" table, with Dorothy Franklin, a member of the Red Hat Divas, as captain.

Sharnda Mosley, queen of the Pink Hatters, served as mistress of ceremony and Cassandra McCray offered the welcome and the occasion. Leona Williams, a member of the Red Hat Divas, sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" and Filer recited "When Malindy Sings" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

"You're invited to share tea, conversation, relaxation and friendship devoted to cancer research and scholarships," said McCray, who also recited "A Loving Recipe for a Cup of Tea' by an anonymous poet.

"All the tables were beautiful," said Susie Mosley of the Charmettes, who also was the captain of four "Christmas" tables.

McNealy said the tea party was a huge collaborative effort. "A lot of effort went to deciding the design," McNealy said. "It was a fun competition and a wonderful afternoon."

McCray said the tea party also served as a fundraiser for Jordan McNeill, one of the contestants of the Miss Charm Teen Pageant, which is a part of the "Breakfast for Madame," an event the Charmettes hold every other year. Jordan is an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School.

The other Miss Charm Teen contestants are Kirsten Thrift, a sixth-grader at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School; Alexis Benjamin, a seventh-grader, also at P.K. Yonge, and LeFinity Dismuke, a seventh-grader at Oak Leaf Middle School in Orange Park.

Each girl has a team made up of Charmettes who, along with parents, sell ads and hold a variety of fundraisers. Whoever raises the most money will be crowned Miss Charm Teen at the "Breakfast for Madame" on April 13.

McCray said a portion of the money contestants will raise also is earmarked for their college education and the girls are encouraged to put the money in a college savings account.

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