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Dressing Up for Victorian Tea

By Mary Fox

From little girls to octogenarians, we never lose our love of “dressing up.” In ladies’ gowns, mom’s high heel shoes and grandma’s old hat, we stepped out for the afternoon.

The ladies of the Historical Society of Ellicottville hosted their annual Victorian Tea last Saturday April 28 at the United Church of Ellicottville. Alice in Wonderland would have loved to be there.

There were no rabbits but there was plenty of tea — pots full — served to 40 ladies enjoying a cup with friends while listening to Annette Ieda’s classical violin.

Plates heaped with dainty finger food, from cucumber sandwiches to scones to chocolate-covered strawberries, were served in the three traditional high tea courses. Seven young ladies from the Ellicottville Girl Scout Troop donated their time preparing and serving while modeling Mennonite-made quilted aprons donated by Jodi Bentley.

”Victorian teas are noted for being served with aprons. I thought them appropriate as they were hand stitched by Mennonites as in Victorian Days,” Bentley said.

Between courses, eight ladies in traditional Victorian costumes waltzed down the runway modeling their finery.

Judy Brown, coordinator of the annual event, said, “We always enjoy doing the tea. We had about 17 ladies 80 years of age and over this year. We appreciate all the volunteer help and give special thanks to Annette for playing the violin, to Holiday Valley for providing the linens and to Gail Archer for displaying her Victorian memorabilia.”

More About the Ellicottville Historical Society

The Ellicottville Historical Society meets on the second Wednesday of the month (a change from last year) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ellicottville Memorial Library Community Room.

The Ellicottville Historical Museum on the corner of Washington and Jefferson streets will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4 p.m. beginning June 1, 2013.

“The theme of this year’s museum display is about Ellicottville’s involvement in the Civil War,” said Mary Elizabeth Dunbar, Ellicottville town historian. “Ellicottville had a lot of historically outstanding people from around this area in the Civil War.”

Wednesday Night Speaker Series

May 8

“4 Strange Ground: Mapping and Robert E. Lee’s Gettysburg Campaign” with Earl McElfresh

June 12 “Presidential Indiscretions” with Greg Kinal

July 10 “Underground Railroad in Olean and Surrounding Areas” with Della Moore

August 14 “Four Days after Appomattox:  Portrait of General Robert E. Lee” with Thomas Schobert

September 11 “Portrayal of Famous Confederate Spy, Belle Boyd” with Ardyth Van Scoy

October 9 “The 149th Buck Tail Regiment” with William Robertson

The public is welcome to come to the speaker series and to spend time enjoying the exhibits at the museum learning about Ellicottville’s rich history. A small membership fee of $5 helps the work of the society.

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