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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Library hosts Downton Abbey tea event

  • The courtroom on the second floor of the Livingston County Library was transformed to resemble a 1920s British parlor Sunday afternoon at the Downton Abbey Tea event.
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  • The courtroom on the second floor of the Livingston County Library was transformed to resemble a 1920s British parlor Sunday afternoon at the Downton Abbey Tea event.
    Local women attending dressed to fit the era, creating an authentic 1920s Britain feel to the afternoon tea. Tea, tea sandwiches, breads and sweets, baked by Francine Davenport of Francine’s Pastry Parlor, were served by a butler and two maids, dressed to resemble characters from the PBS show “Downton Abbey.” The event was held in conjunction with the season four premiere of the show later that evening.
    The Downton Abbey Tea was sold out within three days of the announcement of the event, but nearly 20 people cancelled, largely due to cold weather conditions. Even with the cancellations, nearly 35 people attended the tea.
    Jean Looff, program coordinator at the Livingston County Library, said that the event started off quite small, but developed into a bigger, more realistic event as planning progressed.
    “It was mostly going to be wall decorations, tea in a big coffee/tea pot with tea bags tied together and cookies or something,” Looff said. “It was mostly just going to be fun and talking about the upcoming season. When the funds were available, then it became bigger, more suggestions.”
    The afternoon tea was the library’s first program of the year. Library Director Robin Westphal said that due to receiving funds from a recent donation, the library will be able to consider more programming in years to come than has been done in the past. The Lillian DesMarias Trust recently donated approximately $8 million to the Livingston County Library, and the money will be alloted on a yearly basis.
    “I think we realized that we were going to be able to do more programming than we’ve ever done before,” Westphal said. “I think the idea in the mind of the staff was that we wanted the first program (of the year) to be something big and to be something that people would remember.”
    Originally, British tea was to be provided by Brenda Hedrick of Anna Marie’s Tea Service in Liberty, but due to weather she was unable to attend. Instead, Twinings tea was provided to maintain the British feel, said Westphal.
    Once guests finished their tea and food, “Downton Abbey” themed trivia and bingo was played. A drawing was held for several gifts, including a CD soundtrack of music used in “Downton Abbey” and DVD sets of seasons one through three. The afternoon concluded with free photographs with the Butler, dressed to resemble the character of Carson from the show.
    Westphal said the event was still successful despite the number of cancellations.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We know that the weather kept some folks from being able to attend, but overall we would definitely call this a success,” Westphal said. “This is really what we wanted; a fun afternoon. We were all so excited about season four of “Downton Abbey.” It's great to be able to celebrate that."
    Westphal and Looff will plan to hold a second “Downton Abbey” Tea closer to the end of season four, around March or April of this year. Other events coming up at the library in the next few weeks include an Investing Basics Panel, a board game and card game night and a card making class for Valentine's Day in early February.
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