Let’s call it a coming out party for spring.
The sixth annual Festival of Flowers is just the sort of fete that should help chase away memories of what was an especially long, dismal winter.
The April 14 event - a benefit for St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute - is part formal tea party and part celebration of all gorgeous things that grow.
“People get so excited about dressing up and coming out with their friends and family for a relaxing time,” said festival coordinator Cheryl Brandt. This year, area florists will transform the Davenport Hotel into a lovely English garden, overflowing with fragrant flowers of every shape and shade.
Surrounded by these elaborate arrangements, guests will be invited to sit down for a three-course tea party. Gloves and crooked pinkies, optional.
The American writer Henry James once said “there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Because the pomp and ceremony associated with tea seems so foreign to this coffee-swilling society, we thought it fitting to review tea time decorum.
Julie Raftis, who teaches etiquette basics to preschoolers and grade-school kids at Patsy Clark’s restaurant, offers these tips for the youngest guests:
When you’re not eating or sipping tea, keep your hands in your lap.
Never reach across the table. Wait for goodies to be passed.
If you’re wondering whether you should use a utensil to eat something, use a utensil.
When you’re finished, place your fork upside down on your plate to indicate you’re done.
The grande dame of good manners, Emily Post, advises tea party-goers to remove their gloves with their coat. She also suggests, “You may (and should) talk to anyone there, whether you have been introduced or not.”
When it comes time to strap on the old feedbag, Post said guests may have as much as they like, as long as they don’t overload their plate.
That could be a challenge with the sumptuous spread presented at the Festival of Flowers. The first course consists of cranberry scones with marmalade, savory cheese shortbread wafers, Stilton butter on toast and seasonal fresh fruit served with cheese wedges.
The second course will include smoked salmon mousse on Belgian endive, petite croissants slathered with sherry spiked-mayonnaise and stuffed with smoked turkey breast, cucumber canapes with watercress butter and a crusty bread loaf with deviled ham filling.
For dessert - loosen your silk sash - there’s nutmeg cake, lemon curd tartlets, petits fours, chocolate-dipped strawberries and glazed cherry-filled butter cookies.
The treats will be prepared by Catered for You.
The featured brew that complements this diet-busting menu is Kinnell’s, imported from Edinburgh, Scotland, by Spokane entrepreneur Valerie Clausen.
Afterward, guests can burn off some of those extra calories by strolling among the flowers on the mezzanine level - all of which are available for purchase - or browsing in the gift shop or the fresh flower market. Proceeds from all sales benefit St. Luke Rehabilitation Institute’s new Assistive Technology Program.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Artwork by Mari Anne Figgins/Courtesy of Festival of Flowers
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: FESTIVAL SCHEDULE The Festival of Flowers on April 14 features two sittings for tea at The Davenport Hotel. The morning tea begins at 11:30 and includes an informal style show of children’s party fashions. The afternoon tea, at 2:30, is sold out, but there is a waiting list. Tickets are $25 ($12 for children 6 through 12) and must be purchased in advance at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, 711 S. Cowley. Or, for credit card orders, call 838-7274. For $5 at the door, you can mingle among the flowers but skip the tea. The viewing hours are from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.