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Tea Time
by Jessica Carner
May 06, 2011 | 3148 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne
Sparks resident Dusty Rhodes will host a tea party Saturday to benefit the Sparks Heritage Museum.
Tribune/John Byrne Sparks resident Dusty Rhodes will host a tea party Saturday to benefit the Sparks Heritage Museum.
SPARKS – Anyone looking for a unique way to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend might want to consider treating mom to a Victorian tea party being offered in Sparks.

Resident Dusty Rhodes is hosting a tea party in her home at 2526 Libero Drive from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday to raise money for the Sparks Heritage Museum. For $20, tea party attendees will be treated to a tour of Rhodes’ elaborate Victorian-style home, tea and plenty of food. All proceeds will benefit the museum.

“We’ll have all kinds of tea sandwiches, hot apple cinnamon tea and peach and raspberry iced tea,” Rhodes said. “I make all the food from scratch. I’ll have chicken salad croissants, French truffles and dipped cream puffs.”

Rhodes said tea-goers often leave other parties feeling less than satisfied, but promises this will not happen at her event.

“At my teas people get plenty to eat,” Rhodes said. “No one will leave hungry.”

For several years, Rhodes has been holding afternoon tea get-togethers in the fall and said about 50 guests show up each time, all dressed in their best Victorian attire. Anthea Humphreys, director of the Sparks Heritage Museum, said she always attends the parties with her 13-year-old daughter.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Humphreys said. “My daughter goes with me and she enjoys it. Last time she commented on how it was neat that people spent hours just talking and visiting and nobody was texting or using their cell phone.”

Humphreys said guests bring their granddaughters or their mothers, but anyone is welcome at tea.

“You don’t have to be a mother-daughter to go,” Humphreys said. “It’s just a fun way for people my age to spend time with their daughters or mothers. My mom passed away, but it is the type of thing she would have enjoyed. I can just see her in a big hat.”

The party lasts for three hours in the afternoon, but Rhodes said guests often end up enjoying the company so much that they stay later.

“It’s such a departure from normal life,” Rhodes said.

For the past 30 years, Rhodes has been collecting Victorian décor, clothing and dishes from antique stores, auctions, thrift shops and yard sales. Every corner of her home right down to the bedroom closet and laundry room is adorned in 19th century furnishings, including dolls, angels, cherubs, paintings, lace and many shades of mauve and pink.

“I’m nutty about angels and cherubs,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes will be serving tea and finger foods Saturday utilizing her finest china, silver and linens.

“I always use the fine linens because they are so nice,” Rhodes said.

Tickets for Saturday’s tea party are available for $20 each at the Sparks Heritage Museum, 814 Victorian Ave., and the day of the event at Rhodes’ home. Victorian tea attire is encouraged. Rhodes is asking anyone who plans to attend to let her or someone at the museum know so she can prepare refreshments accordingly.

The Sparks Heritage Museum is in its 26th year of operation and is currently featuring a “Sparks in Space” exhibit, along with train and museum tours for $5. Guided train tours are available every 45 minutes from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The museum is looking for volunteers to work weekends. For more information, call 355-1144.
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