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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Tea At Town Hall An Elegant Affair

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Adams Selectwoman Myra Wilk and Jessica Cote wore period attire at an Aug. 3 Victorian Tea and Lawn Party.
View Slide Show
Adams – The warm perfume of summer dusk wrapped itself around numerous women draped in yesteryear’s finery and delivered an elegant atmosphere to an Aug. 3 Victorian Tea and Lawn Party held on the Town Hall’s rolling, lush grounds.

Long, lacy gowns and tailored traveling dresses – all complete with gloves, hats, parasols and other accessories from the 1800s – were the order of the evening. A horse-drawn carriage offered rides along Park Street, while dancers, violinists, singers, and the "Summer Edition" barbershop quartet entertained.

This year’s event was the third consecutive tea party and marked the conclusion of the town’s Susan B. Anthony Days celebration. Monica Curry Forgey has attended the party in Victorian dress since the event launched; Annemarie Newton has participated twice.

“It’s a girly, fun, dressing up thing and it’s just a lot of fun,” said Forgey.

“It’s enjoyable girl time,” said Newton. “It’s really neat.”


Misty Assante and Kerry Biggs as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Christine Daae."
Misty Assante wore a Phantom of the Opera costume and was accompanied by Kerry Biggs, who was dressed as “Phantom” heroine Christine Daae.

“This is my first time here and I love it,” said Assante. “The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite and when I heard that they were looking for someone to play the ‘Phantom,’ I said ‘I’ll do it.’”

Justine Curry wore two costumes during the evening. She first appeared in a Mary Poppins ensemble and sang “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Feed the Birds.” After performing, Curry changed into a cream-colored satin gown and soft pink hat.

Curry, along with several of the “dressed” women, credited town resident Kathy Matte for their authentic, genteel appearance.
Matte has loaned and altered clothing, designed many of the hats, and assisted the women with their appearance since the first tea party, Curry said.

“She’s so talented and she’s so generous with her time and her things to do this,” said Curry.

Justine Curry in one of the two costumes she wore for the party.


The dress worn by Biggs belongs to Matte and was altered for the Daae character, said Biggs, who also praised Matte’s talents.

And Forgey emphasized Matte’s abilities.

“Kathy does so much,” she said. “She’s amazingly talented.”

Matte was the picture of Victorian femininity as she strolled along the lawn in a “My Fair Lady” costume complete with an ornate hat of her own creation. Her assistance was requested as late as Wednesday afternoon but ideally, Matte likes to have about four weeks notice to create a costume, she said.


Crystal Harrington, 5, wore a gown created by her grandmother Kathy Matte.
Several members of a Florence, Mass. group dedicated to the history of the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company C, which fought during the Civil War, hosted an exhibit at the tea party. The group sets up larger “camps” at events throughout the region.
Information about the group is available at www.Gallant10thmass.org , according to group member Darlene Guditis.

The event provided an opportunity for mothers and daughters to play “dress up;” Mary and Mara Woolley attended the tea party, as did Dawn Steadman and her 11-year-old daughter Emily Steadman.

Berkshire Dance Theater dancers performed for the event.


“I was called at the last minute and asked to come down,” said Dawn Steadman. “And I love it. I think it’s awesome.”

A multi-photograph “Victorian Tea and Lawn Party” slideshow will be posted at www.iberkshires.com during the upcoming week.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.
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