This year it was held for the first time in their museum, for which the previous 10 teas they've done have been raising funds.
This year the theme was a pioneer one, with the tea pourers wearing prairie bonnets and such. I have to confess that when I first read about it, I couldn't quite imagine what that would be like, but it was lovely.
Each of the tables was covered with a quilt. I could not imagine anyone letting their quilts be used this way. I would never be willing to do that. Fortunately, at our table, there were no mishaps.
We had three young sisters sitting at our table who were just delightful. They were all dressed in costumes and while I was taking pictures of the entertainment I happened to capture this photo by accident. I love it. The young lady looks so happy.
They were beautifully mannered young ladies and a delight to be with today.
Of course, I was tickled to get to see Susan. I miss her living in Hutchinson, but she has settled into life in Valley Falls quite nicely it seems.
There were displays in the museum of everything from clothes and hats to toys, and some extra displays around town to see.
My one complaint about St. John's tea is that it's a buffet and I don't like that when I'm going to tea. It's far easier, of course, but it just doesn't feel right to get up from the table and take my plate to the serving tables and serve myself. Others do it that way, too, for the ease. And they're very successful - they sell out three different seatings every year on this one day - and I always want to go, so it's not enough to keep me away.
I was more than a little sugar logged - as I often seem to be when leaving tea. When I started doing teas as a fundraiser for the MHA I realized why tea is always heavy on the sweets and short on the savories - the savories are much more work.
It's far easier to make more sweets, so that's why you get tons of them wherever you go to tea - from the Empress in Canada (the place to have tea), to the average tea room anywhere, to the fundraiser teas. I am proud to say that when I do tea I make an effort to have enough savories and sandwiches compared to the sweets. The tea I do is the only one where I think there's the right proportion of sweets to savories.
But, I expect that wherever I go to tea. And this was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
The entertainment today was Barry Ward, who was fabulous. He and Tony McGee performed some original songs and they were really wonderful. I was sorry we didn't have more time to hear more from them.
That's Barry on the right.
I am always impressed with people who write their own music. It's not as easy as it seems. Long, long ago - in what seems like it was another life - I wrote songs and sang them with friends in front of people none of us knew. Trust me, it's a terrifying proposition.
I spoke with Barry briefly afterwards and discovered he has recorded some music with Jim of the Prairie Wranglers and had just met Martha a few days ago. You may remember Jim and Martha's wedding this summer. He had also met Andrea at Winfield. It really is a small world.
After the tea, we went to see the antique toy display at the bank about a half block away. I absolutely loved these little cookie cutters. I have a couple of these little pans, but I've never seen the cookie cookers. I covet them. I know that's not flattering, but it's true.
Another favorite were these paper horses cut out by a mother to amuse her children. The tag says "Animals made by Anna Minnis' mother for her children to play with. Note pattern and carbon paper."
There were some really interesting antique toys, and this lady demonstrating one of them. There was a ball on a string on the bottom - you bounced it and the chickens appeared to be pecking at their food.
I think some of these toys belonged to her. What really struck me was that kids today wouldn't get this toy on many levels - not the least of which is that most people wouldn't know how chickens peck at their food. It's sad, but true.
I was amazed at this toy cast iron stove and all the little parts that were still on top of it all these years later.
They had many cool things...
There was another collection displayed at the library - old fashioned irons. They were incredibly heavy. Some had numbers on them that indicated the weight of them - one was 18 pounds and belonged to the owner's mother. I don't like to iron with today's irons, so I know I wouldn't have wanted to use one of those things. Our foremothers had great upper body strength is all I can say.
Of course, you know I couldn't go to any tea without sharing photos of the table settings with you. I loved, loved, loved the quilts.
And, a bonus in the day - blog reader Deb Thomas, who I first met in Hillsboro, came over and chatted with me today and even brought me a Christmas ornament. I'm working on the tree so I'll soon be able to press that into service. It was fun to chat with her again. I also ran into some ladies from Pratt who've been to the MHA tea and also a couple that I've seen at many teas in the area. It was a fun day.