The 36th Annual Mad Hatter’s Luncheon Theme and Hat Categories Revealed!

Secure your tables and get your hats ready for Thursday, April 18, 2024 benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden

(Featured photo: Allison Brodnax, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Luncheon; Karen Sargent, President, Women’s Council; Barbara Bigham, Honorary Chair; Bonnie Shelby, hostess.)

The word is out! Mad Hatter’s 2024 Luncheon Theme Reveal Party was hosted by Bonnie Shelby in her lovely home, welcoming over 150 guests to hear the scoop.

Mad Hatter’s Luncheon chair Allison Brodnax welcomed guests, along with Karen Sargent, Women’s Council president, as everyone enjoyed champagne, wine, and passed hors d’oeuvres in addition to a bountiful table of delicious charcuterie.

Karen began the presentation by thanking Bonnie for her generous hospitality and said that now is the time to set the stage for Mad Hatter’s 2024! She announced Barbara Bigham as honorary chair to a rousing round of applause. Barbara is a longtime supporter of the Women’s Council, chair of A Woman’s Garden 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Birthday Party in 2021, a 2019-2020 Founder’s Award Honoree,1995 Mad Hatter’s Tea chair, long-time supporter, former board member and dedicated volunteer.

Allison gave special thanks to Elizabeth Rois-Mendez and Brittany Davenport for chairing this evening’s soirée. She also thanked Elizabeth for her generosity in sponsoring the wines tonight. Other sponsors included Food Glorious Food, Gold Crown Valet, Top Tier Rentals, who donated all the rentals and linens and made a custom bar to match theme colors, and David Kimmel Designs who went over the top with the beautiful florals at the entrance and dining table, including centerpiece florals for the tall tables outside.

Encouraging everyone to mark their calendars for Thursday, April 18, 2024 for the Mad Hatter’s Luncheon, Allison announced NorthPark Center as the sponsor of the fashion show which will include risers, lights, and music produced by the remarkable Jan Strimple Productions and always includes a few surprises.

Raising the curtain on the theme Commemorating the 36th Annual Mad Hatter’s Luncheon Gardens of Greece, applause filled the room as Allison presented the logo, an original artwork of a Grecian statue in a colorful garden by Barbara Elam, who had also created the artwork for the 2021 Mad Hatter’s Tea Out of Africa – Into the Garden, chaired by her daughter, Jolie Humphrey.

Barbara Elam, featured artist, and her artwork featuring the logo and theme “Gardens of Greece.”

These Hat Categories were announced: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Olympic Games, Greek Mythology, Greek Life (sorority), Best Botanical Using Fresh Flowers and Greek Goddesses (group of 3 or more).

This fabulous party has been an ongoing fundraising event sponsored by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Monies raised assist with the development, growth and maintenance of A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum. 

Anne Stodghill, Angela Harris, Melanie Montgomery, Giovanna Frankel 

Guests travel from all over the United States, planning their trips to Dallas not only to take part in the Mad Hatter’s Luncheon, taking the theme as inspiration for their sophisticated, glamorous, and delightfully lavish hats, but to view the glorious springtime azalea displays and flowers that grace the Dallas Arboretum.

The morning will begin with a Welcome Reception, a stroll in the gardens and a Silent Auction while the discerning hat judges take note of the Grecian-influenced interpretations of this year’s theme. Inside Rosine Hall, Hat Contest winners will be announced, which will be followed by the fashion show and then a delicious three-course luncheon.

Last year, just over 650 people attended the Mad Hatter’s Luncheon in a party spread over Rosine Hall and A Tasteful Place. This year, the cap on attendance is 500, as it will take place only in Rosine Hall. So, do not delay securing tables, underwriting and sponsorships now.

Sponsorships begin at $2,500. Patron Tickets start at $500. Visit  to purchase sponsorships or tickets or scan the QR code included in this release. Individuals who purchase a patron level ticket and up will be invited to a patron party at the Harlan Crow Library. Visit the website for more information         

Lacy Murt, Maribel West, Allison Brodnax, chair, Mad Hatter’s Luncheon; Erin Hughes, Kirsten Katzen, Sallye Sheridan, Jenni Thakkar

About the Women’s Council: Celebrating its 42nd Anniversary in 2024.
Since 1982 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 make 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 27th Anniversary in 2024.
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 is 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.     

About Mad Hatter’s: Celebrating its 36th Anniversary in 2024.
In 1989, Carole Ann Brown chaired the first Mad Hatter’s Tea to bring awareness to the Women’s Council and the Dallas Arboretum. The tea was held in the Camp House garden for 100 ladies and raised $10,000. Over the years, Mad Hatter’s has been chaired by many notable Dallas ladies such as Linda Ivy, Barbara Bigham, Connie Carreker, Barbara Daseke and Patti Flowers. Honorary Chairs have included some of the most philanthropic names in Dallas history such as Annette Simmons, Gene Jones, Caroline Rose Hunt, Tincy Miller, Sally Hoglund, Dee Wyly, Margaret Crow, Nancy Rogers, Amy Warren, Patty Dedman Nail, Sherwood Wagner, Laurie Sands Harrison and Kim Hext. Finally, it would not be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party without the hats. The creativity at Mad Hatter’s over the years has been impressive. Ladies have been inspired to create millinery creations based on Royal Ascot, Run for the Roses, April in Paris, Steel Magnolias, Under the Tuscan Sun and even Garden by the Sea. We have seen the Golden Age of Hollywood, have come Out of Africa into the Garden, enjoyed a Wonderland of Fashion while having Tea with Alice and Majestic Mad Hatter’s –A Celebration of English Elegance.  

*Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio 

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden select special events, including Mad Hatter’s Luncheon and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)


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.