Afternoon tea is a time-honored British tradition, and, like all good traditions, it is centered around food, drinks, and good company. According to the popular food blog The Spruce Eats, afternoon tea was made popular by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, in the early 19th century. Apparently, she would become famished in-between lunch and dinner and would order for tea, bread, and cakes to be sent to her room. She then began to invite friends to converse and visit over the afternoon refreshments, and since then, the ritual has become a standard all over England. It’s only fitting that this custom would make its way to Wrightwood, a community centered around history, food, and good conversation.
The Wrightwood Property Owners Association recreated the tea tradition at The Wrightwood Place for their first ever High Tea fundraiser on Saturday, June 25th. And, just like the Duchess of Bedford would have preferred, the event took place between lunch and dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon. When asked where the idea of a tea party fundraiser originated, WWPOA Chairperson Sandi Hanlon said, “I have a friend who gifted us all these teapots, so I thought why not make use of what we got?” Hanlon mentioned that the table settings were also a community effort, and volunteers had enthusiastically loaned their personal tea cup sets for the elegant event. Floral centerpieces were created by Briar Rose Design, and the menu included a vast selection of teas, fresh fruit, sandwiches, scones, macarons, and decorative cakes.
In proper British form, the event started with the singing of England’s national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” followed by a fashion show highlighting historical clothing through the ages. Dresses were presented by costume designer and fashion historian Brenda Asta while models were escorted down the stage in their historically accurate attire. Arts and entertainment also included a musical performance by harpist Jerry Ripley and quilts were displayed to highlight the award-winning creations by Pine Needles Quilt Guild member Diane Armstrong. A silent auction also took place, displaying handmade bags and teapots, all while guests took pictures with a life-size cardboard cutout of The Queen of England herself, Queen Elizabeth II.
Let’s not forget that it wouldn’t be an authentic English affair without the array of fashionable hats. Prizes were given to the best homemade hat and the best store-bought hat. Shary Hedden won best store-bought hat for her embellished red and purple headpiece. Hedden mentioned she had been a Wrightwood resident when the WWPOA was formed in 1947 and has seen a lot of growth in the community. Hedden said, “I’ve lived here since I was in Jr. High. I remember our home used to be the last house in town.”
Although Wrightwood is not as mature as Great Britain, there is plenty of history and culture immersed in the community, which the WWPOA is dedicated to preserving. WWPOA Program Chairperson, and MC for the event, Pam Wright, stated, “The Wrightwood Property Owners Association serves to protect and preserve property values, the lifestyle, and quality of life in Wrightwood. Our motto actually is: Many voices together are powerful than one voice alone.” One of the many advocacy projects the association supports is the Wrightwood Village Trail, which runs along Hwy 2. The trail was developed when a group of Wrightwood residents expressed a need for a safer way for kids to get to school instead of walking dangerously on the highway. The trail is now in need of maintenance, so members of the Wrightwood Trail Keepers sold handmade fabric hearts and tea-potted plants to raise money for new decomposed granite to be laid. The Trail Keepers are a group of volunteers that maintain sections of the path by picking up pine cones, weeds, and other debris along the trail.
The WWPOA is a non-profit organization that supports the Adopt-A-Highway program along Hwy2, provides scholarships for the students of Serrano, and hosts fun community events like Movies in the Pines, which is happening this summer on Saturday evenings in the Wrightwood Community Center parking lot. The association’s next big event is Oktoberfest on October 1st in Wrightwood. If you are interested in becoming a member or getting involved, you can attend the WWPOA board meetings on the second Wednesdays of the month at Wrightwood Methodist Church at 7:00 pm or call 760 316 4255 for more details.