Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dallas Hat Judges and Categories Reveal Party hosted by TOOTSIES

Celebrating its 34th Year benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dallas Hat Judges and Hat Categories Reveal Party was generously hosted by TOOTSIES in their newly renovated space in Preston Center. The bubbly flowed as Nerissa von Helpenstill, Store Director, TOOTSIES, welcomed Claire Catrino, Chair of Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dallas, Allison Brodnax, Chair of this Reveal party and Lisa Loy Laughlin, President of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, along with board members, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party former chairs and supporters.

Artwork by Laura Loy Capps.

Lisa opened remarks by welcoming the crowd and thanking TOOTSIES for their ongoing support.  Claire then announced these Hat Categories and Hat Judges:
1. Best Use of Botanical Components: “Bluebonnets” judged by Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum CEO.

2. Most True to Theme: “Flying Horse” judged by Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President and CEO, Dallas Symphony Association.

3. Best Big Over the Top Texas Hat: “Everything is Bigger in Texas!” judged by Barbara Bigham, Philanthropist.

4. Best Fascinator: “Uptown Girl” judged by Vanessa Logan, Executive Director, Texas Ballet Theater.

5. Best Group Hats: “Dallas Dynasty” judged by Amy Hofland, Executive Director, Crow Museum of Asian Art.

6. People’s Choice Award: “Deep in the Hat of Texas” Chosen by the people. Awarded by a council of prior Mad Hatter’s Tea chairs.

7. Best in Show: “Don’t Mess with Dallas” judged by Tanya Taylor, Featured Celebrity Designer, who is flying in from New York especially for this event on behalf of TOOTSIES.
Tanya Taylor is celebrating 10 years in business this year and has continued to approach fashion in a thoughtful manner by incorporating color, texture, and original hand-painted prints with uplifting and celebratory silhouettes into each size-inclusive collection. Our goal is to enable all women to express themselves creatively and confidently, and we’re so excited to showcase our collection at the Mad Hatter Tea runway show. Aside from the event, Tanya will be happy to chat about our cases that we’ve been passionate about, our current spring collection, art, and motherhood.


Claire also announced something entirely new for this year, the Inaugural Innovators in Design Awards recognizing new and established female artists in the Dallas community: Cindy Avroch, Diana Brosseau, Barbara Durham, Kallie Hauschild, Sharon Lee and Addison Sloane, whose artworks will be available for bidding in the silent auction.

Colby Hanks Baer, Carole Ann Brown, Chair of the 1st Mad Hatter’s Tea* 
Linda Spina, Chair of the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea; Venise Stuart, Chair of the 30th Mad Hatter’s Tea

Slated for Wednesday, April 20, 2022, the fun begins with a champagne reception in the Ginsburg Family Plaza at the Dallas Arboretum where celebrity hat judges choose winners in the categories mentioned above as they stroll the red carpet. After the winners are announced, there is an elegant and lovely tea inside Rosine Hall and a European-style fashion show highlighting styles of the spring season featuring designs by Tanya Taylor and more, presented by TOOTSIES and produced by Jan Strimple Productions.

An exquisite-limited edition silk scarf celebrating Dallas attractions and architectural icons is for sale. It is 100% Silk Twill, 35” x 35”, with a hand-rolled Hem. They are $150 each, available for pre-order with pick-up Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Individual floral centerpieces are also for sale. They are colorful arrangements of fanciful spring flowers presented by the Junior Group of the Dallas Garden Club and Junior Villanueva of The Garden Gate. $40 each. Available for pre-order with pick-up Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Sarah Bowlby, Lisa Loy Laughlin, President, Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the 26th Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair; Barbara Bigham, Hat Judge; Claire Catrino, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Tea; Mary Brinegar, Hat Judge; Vanessa Logan, Hat Judge; Nerissa Von Helpenstill, TOOTSIES; Allison Brodnax, Reveal Party Chair 
Jill Goldberg, Sarah Jo Hardin, Dyann Skelton, Chair of the 8th Mad Hatter’s Tea
Kuntheaer Mam-Douglas, Barbara Bigham, a Hat Judge; Nikki Beneke, former A Writer’s Garden Chair; Regina Bruce

Celebrating its 34th Year, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dallas Honorary Chair is Laurie Sands Harrison and benefits the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden, which is the only garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. A Woman’s Garden 25th Anniversary will be celebrated in the Fall of 2022.   

Laurie Sands Harrison, Honorary Chair.**

Guests travel from all over the United States, planning 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. Media sponsors are PaperCity, People Newspapers, My Sweet Charity.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party fills up early! Get your friends together and buy a table. Underwriting, sponsorships and individual tickets are available now. Check the website at for details.

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S COUNCIL:  Since 1986 the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the only public garden in the United States conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women. The support of over 500 members of the Women’s Council makes possible the continued expansion and development of A Woman’s Garden. The Women’s Council is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

ABOUT A WOMAN’S GARDEN: Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in Fall of 2022: A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. Ablaze with color in every season, A Woman’s Garden sits majestically as a living testament to the passion and vision of the Women’s Council founders and the boundless energy and devotion of its members whose commitment to creating a garden dedicated to the universal spirit of women across generations is realized in its inspired design. Our beautiful garden celebrates the power, creativity, resourcefulness, passion and unwavering commitment of the women who came before us and those entrusted with its care now, and into the future. 

ENDOWMENT TRUST HISTORY: In May 1995 the Women’s Council broke ground on Phase I of A Woman’s Garden. On October 4, 1997, Phase I of A Woman’s Garden opened to the public. Just three years later in 2000, the Women’s Council met its obligation to fund the $1.5 million endowment trust to support the ongoing maintenance of Phase I. In August 2021 the Women’s Council met its obligation four years ahead of schedule to complete the funding of the $1.6 million endowment trust to support the ongoing maintenance of Phase II of A Woman’s Garden.

*Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

**Photo by Dana Driensky from the Announcement Party at Stanley Korshak November 2021.

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and its special events, including Mad Hatter’s Tea [Sharon chaired the 3rd Mad Hatter’s Tea], A Writer’s Garden and more.)


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.