Flashback: 2015 Mad Hatter’s Tea – April in Paris – Celebrated 27th Anniversary

Flashback: 2015 Mad Hatter’s Tea April in Paris Celebrated its 27th Year Anniversary benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden

(Slideshow photo by Dana Driensky:  Sherwood Wagner, Honorary Chair; Marena Gault, President, Women’s Council; Sharon Popham, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Tea; Yanni Kyriazis of David Holland Fine Jewelers)


Mark your calendars for Mad Hatter’s Tea 2016 – Steel Magnolias on Thursday, April 21, 2016.
Jocelyn White is chairing this fabulous event! Reserve your table now!  Underwriting opportunities and naming sponsorships are available. Contact Patricia Armstrong: patricia.armstrong@verizon.net or call 214-215-1300. Individual tickets will be available soon. You can always check the website at http://www.womenscouncildallasarboretum.org
 Renee Farren is 2016 president of the Women’s Council.


(April 9, 2015)  It is always a mad affair to plan an event outside in April in Dallas, but the tradition still held, as well as the cool and overcast weather, holding off the heavy rains to a slight drizzle or two here and there for the 27th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea April in Paris at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Greeting guests as they arrived was a model personifying April in Paris dressed in an all-white gown accented with white fur cuffs, cape, waist sash and hat, accompanied by a full sized white French poodle, trimmed in the traditional fashion, making quite an elegant statement.

Sharon Popham, Chairman, was joined by Sherwood Wagner, Honorary Chair and Marena Gault, President of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, along with Mary Brinegar, President of the Dallas Arboretum and Dave Forehand, Vice-President of Gardens.

This fabulous and fun party was attended by over 500 stylish ladies and gents, some from as far away as California, who planned their trips to Dallas not only to take part in the Mad Hatter’s Tea – many in wild and wonderful over-the-top hats relating to the event’s hat contest themes – but to view the glorious springtime azalea displays and flowers that grace the arboretum and visit friends.

Sharon said, “This is the perfect girlfriends’ party. The gardens are blooming and the hats are more stylish, clever and some are more imaginative than ever.”
Underwriters included Sherwood Wagner and her mother, Lissa Wagner; the Dedman Family Foundation, Cindy Thomas and Bert Headden; and Faye Briggs, along with media sponsors PaperCity and Park Cities News.


Photographers snapped and television cameras rolled as hundreds of supporters enjoyed a specialty drink made especially for this occasion, the Barcardi St. Germain, champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the open air Ginsburg Plaza before the fashion presentation.      

Indoors, everyone was seated as Celebrity Chair Clarice Tinsley, FOX4 news anchor, welcomed the crowd and announced the event had completely sold out over a week ago. In a very special moment, she recognized Nell Broughton, who is celebrating her 95th birthday and has attended every Mad Hatter’s Tea for the past 27 years.



Marena expressed heartfelt gratitude to Sharon as the tea chair, saying her dedication to this cause and the event were unmatched and recognized Sherwood as honorary chair. She also reminded everyone that A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation visualized by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women.

Sharon extended her special appreciation to sponsors and VIP party hosts Linda Burk and John Gilmore, Hat Judges Announcement Party Sponsors Paula and Alan Mann, Valet Parking Sponsor, Sharla’s; and David Lee Holland Fine Jewelers, along with her committee and the tried and true volunteers, along with Marena for her leadership and creative vision.


A very special thank you went to the fashion show sponsors, Betty Reiter, Canary, Nardos Imam/J. Pacetti Precious Jewels and V.O.D. The fashion show was a wonderful production by Jan Strimple, beginning with models in full can-can costume leading the way and included spring, summer and cruise fashions ending with beautiful elegant formal fashions that drew much applause from the crowd.

The live auction proved to be exciting, beginning with enthusiastic opening remarks by auctioneer Jody Dean of KLUV 98.7 FM, whose animated personality brought in even more money for the cause. Working with Jocelyn White, they raised over $33,000 including $17,500 for the Magnolia Leaf Ring with Natural Color Rose de France, 50.88ctw, fabricated in solid 18-karat yellow gold,  a one-of-a-kind jewel designed and made by hand in New York by David Lee Holland Fine Jewelers especially to benefit Mad Hatter’s Tea and A Woman’s Garden.


Then it was time for the hat judges to present the awards to the winners in these categories:

  • Regen Horchow Fearon, founder of the Institute for Interesting People, presented Le Plus Représentant du Theme – Most True to Theme to D’Andra Simmons.
  • Matilda Louree, former Dallas Arboretum board member and docent, presented Botanique – Most Botanical to Terry Irby.
  • Megan McDonald, manager of Saint Laurent Boutique in Highland Park Village, presented Le Plus Capricieux – Most Whimsical to Elva Firstenberg.
  • Brenda Bogart, artist and former interior designer, presented Le Plus Élégant – Most Elegant, to Lauren Palmer.
  • Cynthia Smoot, marketer and social blogger, OhSoCynthia.com, presented Le Plus Bizarre – Most Outlandish to Kunthear Mam-Douglas.
  • Kim Harmon Gatlin, best-selling author of Good Christian Bitches, presented Le Choix des Gens – People’s Choice to Gretchen Stewart.
  • Jane Rozelle, society editor for PaperCity, media sponsor, presented Milleur Groupe de Chapeaux – Best Group of Hats to Shane Walker and Billy Fulmer.
  • Lucy Billingsley, Dallas developer, presented Le Meilleur du Spectacle – Best of Show to Carmen Surgent. And a very special new category was added at the event: Lifetime of Elegance presented by Lucy to Nell Broughton, who celebrates her 95th birthday this year and has been to every Mad Hatter’s Tea since 1989.



Luncheon included the most delicious croissant, a salad of field greens with sliced pear, raisins, crumbled blue cheese, spiced pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette. An entrée of wild mushroom filled crepes was accompanied with wild rice and haritcot verts alongside baby carrots.  Dessert featured a Crème brulée with macaroon. Favors of a delicately round porcelain trinket in the shape of a macaroon were at each place setting.

It all was served beneath elegant open-air white tents with tables covered in luscious yellow and blue French toile, topped with centerpieces of a metal sculpture Eiffel Tower with blossoming ivy, all amidst walls of tall azaleas in delightful shades of green. A beautiful crystal chandelier marked the VIP table setting for honorary chair Sherwood Wagner and her guests, some of whom flew in from her hometown in Midland for the event.
For more information about the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden, visit the website at www.WomensCouncilDallasArboretum.org

Photos by Dana Driensky and Rob Wythe/Gittings.

Photos from the Kick-Off Party at Brook Hollow Golf Club:

Beneficiary:  Since its inception in 1982, the Women’s Council has supported the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden overall and through the creation, development and on-going funding of the world renowned A Woman’s Garden and now, through funding the garden’s enhancements that will continue to draw visitors to our great city from all over the world.


Note from Sharon Adams, PR for Mad Hatter’s Tea and editor, SocialWhirl.com:

When we changed formats of SocialWhirl.com in the fall of 2015, the old website had many, many parties – 15 years’ worth of parties! which are now archived off-line – and since the 2016 Mad Hatter’s Tea is coming up on April 21, 2016, we thought it would be fun to publish last year’s event to give everyone a peek at the hats the ladies and gents create especially for this event. Hope you enjoy!

Adams Communications Public Relations is honored to represent Mad Hatter’s Tea.


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.