Spring tea raises funds for historical society

MARYSVILLE — For centuries, tea socials have been a place to see and be seen.

With elaborate hats, delicate dresses and coiffed hairdos on display, the Marysville Historical Society’s annual spring tea fundraiser March 29 was no exception.

At the event’s 25 tables, women were decked in dresses and vintage duds, several with ties to local history.

Erica Welti, who attended the tea with her mother, Leslie, wore her grandmother’s wedding ring and her maternal great-grandmother’s wedding gown, the latter an ankle-length lavender satin dress. At the Weltis’ table, attendees brought old family wedding photos. Leslie had a gilded-framed photo of her grandmother in the gown her daughter wore. Each table’s sponsor chose a centerpiece theme.

Welti was invited on stage to show her dress during a vintage wedding gown fashion show by Seattle Goodwill. Dresses dated back to the late 1800s and many defied the traditional white gown typical of modern weddings. A four-piece black ensemble dating back to 1871 earned the shrewd introduction, “The truly thrifty woman can be wed, bred and dead in black.”

“It is a collection that we have set aside over the years,” said Mary Lewis, who manages the vintage collection for Seattle Goodwill. “It is created primarily from donations that come into Goodwill.”

The social, sponsored by and located at the Tulalip Casino Resort Hotel, also featured tea service by the gentlemen of the Marysville Historical Society and a silent auction.

Items included everything from $5 gift certificates to an 1891 pocket watch with an estimated value of $375, said event coordinator Autrey Steilling.

The tea raised $3,000 in ticket sales and Steilling said they hoped to match that amount from auction revenues. Items donated for the auction came to an estimated total of $8,000.

At Ann Thompson’s table, everyone was related to each other. It was their second year attending the spring tea.

A Marysville resident off and on since 1949, Thompson remarked how much the city has grown since she first moved here. Then, the population was about 4,300. Now, it’s about 10 times that.

About 200 people attended the spring tea. Proceeds from the event go toward the Marysville Historical Society’s operating budget and a new museum facility. Turnout was up by about 75 from the year before.

“It is becoming the premier social event for ladies of the year in Marysville,” said historical society president Ken Cage. “It’s becoming very, very popular.”

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