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Time for a Tea

December 20, 2010
By Jenny Kirk

MARSHALL - The Marshall Area Fine Arts Council picked an appropriate theme this year for its 5th annual Christmas Tea on Saturday - snowmen and snowflakes.

But organizers got more than they could have ever anticipated last weekend with a tenacious blizzard that caused the event to be postponed for a week. Despite the delay, the 2010 Christmas Tea at the Arts Center was a huge success, said Carol Purrington, president of the MAFAC board. Changing the 3 p.m. session to a 10 a.m. one this year seemed to be more accommodating.

"It was a great turnout, and I think, even though we had to postpone it, changing our time schedule helped us," Purrington said. "This year we decided to make it a brunch and we got a wonderful response."

Article Photos

Photo by Jenny Kirk

Rick Purrington reads “A Stranger in the Woods,” a story that fit into the snowman and snowflake theme for the 2010 Marshall Area Fine Arts Council Christmas Tea at the Arts Center on Saturday in Marshall.

At two seatings - one at 10 a.m. and the other at 12:30 p.m. - MAFAC volunteers served quiche, muffins and a warm fruit cup courtesy of DeVos Catering in addition to an endless supply of tea flowing from real silver teapots and vanilla ice cream and snowman candies for dessert. While the nearly 40 attendees dined at beautifully-decorated tables and conversed with each other, Dana Funk provided entertainment with Christmas carols at the piano.

"We can seat 36 people and we sold out ahead of time last week," Purrington said. "Of course, some that bought tickets for last week couldn't come this week. But we had a waiting list so it worked out fine."

Bev Kenyon has been the chairperson for the event since its beginning. But Kenyon, who is also the curator at the Lyon County Museum, will be stepping down after this year's Christmas Tea.

"I was very pleased with the turnout (Saturday)," Kenyon said. "Everybody was having a good time. It's been fun.

"We've had great support. The workers have been terrific. But I am running out of steam and themes and books, so it was time. I will just come and sit next year and enjoy."

When MAFAC organizers walked across the street four years ago to ask for Kenyon's assistance, she let them know that she had high standards.

"I asked how many tablecloths we had," Kenyon said. "We had three red and three green, so I said, 'That'll work.' Then I asked what kind of dishes we had and they said we could use paper plates. I said, 'No we can't, and that's how it started.'"

Themes change every year. "We've had a nutcracker theme and an angel theme," Purrington said. "This year it was snowmen and snowflakes. That's why our color-scheme was different. Usually, we've gone with the red and green. But this was fun."

Seven-year-old Mackenna Eickhoff was attending the Christmas Tea for the first time.

"It was good," she said. "I came with my mom (Tina). The food was good and it was fun to get all dressed up."

Eickhoff is looking forward to giving her mom a present for Christmas and coming back to the Christmas Tea next year.

Jackie Zerr, a retired Marshall Middle School teacher, also had a good time.

"It was fun to be here," Zerr said. "I've been part of MAFAC since the beginning. I've tried to help out. I think (MAFAC has) done a wonderful job of developing part of the community and promoting creativity. There's a lot of local talent here."

Mark Schwanebeck was scheduled to read a snowman story, but couldn't make it this week, so Rick Purrington read "A Stranger in the Woods." Afterwards, everyone sang "Frosty the Snowman."

Despite all the juggling, organizers are hopeful for next year.

"We're going to miss Bev," Carol Purrington said. "We don't know if we'll do the Christmas Tea next year. It depends on whether somebody steps up, so we'll see."



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