Rosemary Hamblin remembers the Brass Band festival’s first Chautauqua Tea, held 21 years ago when she owned The Tea Leaf eatery. Some of the originators of the tea are members of the local chapter of the PEO Sisterhood, a philanthropic educational organization that works to raise money for student loans and scholarships.
This year, organizers Hamblin and Bunny Scutchfield want to celebrate the history of tea, and are making sure there’s music in the mix. Hamblin says the presentation will be performances by the Danville Children’s Choir, something she and Scutchfield feel anyone of any age will appreciate.
“All¿I can say is that they are just wonderful,”¿Hamblin says.
In keeping with the theme, Hamblin mapped out a menu that will combine traditional treats with new, updated recipes.
“For the ham and biscuits, we will have the regular, traditional biscuits as well as ones made only with equal parts of heavy whipping cream and self-rising flour. It’s a newer way to make them,”¿she says.
The women are hoping ladies come in hats and dressy attire, in the true spirit of an afternoon tea. Hamblin feels women can go all out this year with their headwear, somewhat due to the trend set early-on by the royal wedding in England.
“Tea time has been around for hundreds, thousands of years — thanks mostly to the British. But they got it from the Orient.”
Hamblin says tea time comes and goes locally in today’s busy world, but she’s happy The Tea Leaf was able to keep it alive, as well as Bruce and Shelley Richardson of Elmwood Inn in Perryville.
“Chapter I (Danville’s chapter of the PEO) volunteers want to revive the Chautauqua Tea as a part of the Brass Band Festival and to support the educational goals of the sisterhood.”
Tables will be set with PEO members’ personal china. The food will be served as a buffet.
“The location is beautiful — in the fellowship hall of The Presbyterian Church, which faces McDowell Park. It’s a beautiful space,”¿Scutchfield says.
All proceeds from the tea will go to the group’s many scholarships offered annually to high school students.
The women are excited about a new scholarship they are adding to their list, which Hamblin was embarrassed to find out it is named “The Rosemary Hamblin Scholarship.”¿
Scutchfield says the group always has had many entries from high-achieving students applying for its scholarships. This year, the group will recognized a local high school student who has overcome adversity or challenges to get where he or she is.
“We just feel like we want to encourage them,”¿Scutchfield says.
So far, the women say, the tickets are selling like hot tea cakes.
Last year was canceled because of lack of interest, Hamblin indicated, so it’s even more gratifying that only a handful of tickets remain to the event.
“We are expecting a wonderful turn out, and a wonderful tea,” Hamblin says.
Chautauqua Tea menu
Kentucky country ham biscuits
pimento cheese ribbons
olive nut triangles
chicken salad in Phylo cups
tea breads with cream cheese
frozen fruit salad
almond, Swedish oatmeal, bourbon ball and orange-coconut cookies
special tea — hot and cold