Join us on April 21: 28th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Steel Magnolias. Announcements Revealed at TOOTSIES

28th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Steel Magnolias Announcements Revealed at TOOTSIES

Everyone loves an evening dedicated to a special cause and it’s especially fun when combined with private shopping at a fabulous venue, gourmet treats and meeting new friends. The recent kick-off for Mad Hatter’s Tea Steel Magnolias filled TOOTSIES in Preston Center with that excitement and more.

(Slideshow image above: Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Director, TOOTSIES, fashion show sponsor; Jocelyn White, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Tea; Connie Carreker, Honorary Chair; Jan Strimple, Fashion Show producer; Dustin Holcomb, TOOTSIES, fashion show sponsor.)*

Jocelyn White, Mad Hatter’s Tea chair, welcomed the crowd and thanked Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Director at TOOTSIES, for hosting tonight’s event. The first reveal was the fabulous logo by fashion illustrator Rongrong DeVoe, literally depicting the theme for the 2016 Tea of Steel Magnolias – a fabulous sketch of a Southern gal wearing a hat with the steel structures of the City of Dallas rising out of the crown.

More excitement followed as Connie Carreker, a former Mad Hatter’s Tea chair was announced as honorary chair and joined Women’s Council president, Renee Ferren, for photo ops at the huge logo poster.
Jocelyn announced the Mad Hatter’s fashion show will be produced by Jan Strimple and feature fabulous spring fashions from sponsor TOOTSIES. Shane Walker is creating the centerpieces and one of the hat judges is Gary Riggs, local Dallas interior designer. The room was filled with a round of cheers and applause.
Some of the committee members attending included Andrea Alcorn, Patricia Armstrong, Kay Hammond, Dixie Marshall and Linda Spina. Former Mad Hatter’s Tea chairs enjoying the scene were Carole Ann Brown, Kim Mathews, Dyan Skelton, Jewel Williams and Sharon Adams. Judges will be announced at a future date.
Update February 28, 2016: Hat Categories Announced!    Scroll down for details.



Nikki Beneke, Patricia Armstrong
Nikki Beneke, Patricia Armstrong

Mad Hatter’s Tea Steel Magnolias will celebrate its 28th anniversary on Thursday, April 21, 2015 at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.  This fabulous and fun party has been an ongoing fundraising event sponsored by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Monies raised grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum.
Over 500 guests, some from as far away as California, plan their trips to Dallas not only to take part in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – many in wild and wonderful over-the-top hats – but to view the glorious springtime azalea displays and flowers that grace the Dallas Arboretum.
The event includes a champagne reception in Ginsburg Plaza, professionally staged and choreographed fashion presentation inside Rosine Hall and afterwards, hats are judged in different categories and contest winners are announced at the fashion show and strut the runway. The fashion show festivities are followed by a seated al fresco luncheon under elegantly draped tents.
It is truly a day of fun, fashion and celebrating friends. Sponsorships and underwriting are available by contacting Patricia Armstrong, Underwriting chair at 214-215-1300 or email at For photos from past Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties and more information, visit the website at

    Update February 28, 2016: Hat Categories Announced!  

MOST TRUE-TO-THEME:  Magnolias in ev’ry incarnation.  Faux or real.

THE SOUTHERN BELLE:  Shelby’s girly-girl look.  Can you say pink?

SIMPLY ELEGANT:  Beautifully chic!  If Audrey Hepburn had been Southern …

MOTHER NATURE WINKS:  Makin’ Mama Nature proud with the best use of her bounty.

THE SOCIAL SORORITY:  Best Sisterhood (Brotherhood?) award.  We come in groups.

MISS MERRY CHRISTMAS:  Crowns, Tiaras, Headdresses.  Oh, my Stars!

WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?:  The Ouiser Boudreaux Award.  It’s what YOU think!

BEST OF SHOW/PEOPLE’S CHOICE Self-explanatory.  THE STEEL MAGNOLIA.   Best of the Best!

* Photos by Dana Driensky.  Adams Communications Public Relations is honored to represent Mad Hatter’s Tea.


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, 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.