By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
RIVERSIDE — Twenty-seven guests sat down to an old-fashioned tea time as part of a fundraiser for Danville’s Thomas Beaver Free Library.
The event was held Sunday at Charlotte’s Tea House, located at the home of Carol Carlough. Charlotte’s Tea House, named after Carlough’s granddaughter, has been holding private tea times for the past seven years.
“I love every minute of it,” said Carlough, who is also on the board of directors for the library.
This was the first time Carlough held a tea as a fundraiser, with each guest paying $25 to attend. The normal cost is $20 per guest.
Each visitor was treated to sandwiches, scones, sweets and, of course, tea. In addition, they were all invited to wear a hat from Carlough’s extensive vintage clothing collection.
Two tea times were also hosted on Saturday to benefit the library. About 45 people in total attended those sessions.
Carlough got some help from a small army of volunteers made up of members of the Friends of the Thomas Beaver Free Library and the library’s board members. Food was donated for the event as well.
Carlough got her start as a tea hostess when a local news group did a story on her collection of vintage clothing. After seeing her house, they said she should start serving tea to people.
“It just went on from there. I’ve been doing teas ever since,” she said.
Carlough doesn’t advertise, with each tea time being spread by word of mouth. She usually hosts groups between 10 and 20.
Guests on Sunday were also greeted by “Abigail Geisinger,” portrayed by library board member Sue Tinsley.
After the guests finished their tea and food, they were invited to explore Carlough’s house and her vintage clothing collection, including about 1,000 hats, 3,000 aprons, 2,000 lady dress gloves and thousands of pieces of jewelry.
“I love collecting, I love the people in my home,” Carlough said.
Among her guests was Norma Hand, of Danville, who turned 85 on the day of the tea party. Carlough and her volunteers surprised the birthday girl with a tray of cupcakes and a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” She was also given a small, pink, ceramic teapot by Carlough.
“It’s been fabulous,” Hand said of her birthday celebration.
Elizabeth Green, of Point Township, was attending for the first time and said she would definitely come again. “It’s an enjoyable experience,” she said.
“When people take tea, they’re happy,” Carlough said. A lot of people come together at these events who don’t know each other, and then “all of a sudden, you have new friends.”
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