OTA tea raises funds, brings firefighters

The term high tea brings back memories of my very proper grandmother who often served high tea at her Trenton, N.J., home to the governor's wife and large groups of friends.

The same elegant air was present at the high tea served Saturday at the Olympic Theatre Arts Twelfth Night High Tea - although firefighters answering a false alarm crashed the event..

The high tea was a fundraiser for OTA as it struggles to meet new requirements before the scheduled grand opening of its new auditorium on Feb. 5. The organization learned it must have handicapped ramps in place that will cost approximately $30,000. This was more than the group had budgeted.

Rotarians lend hands

"We want to have a totally handicapped accessible facility," said Elaine Caldwell, chairwoman of the OTA board.

"But we have these new requirements and they are more expensive than we thought. The Sunrise Rotary has been so helpful with this project, digging trenches and pouring foundations."

Approximately 130 people enjoyed the tea on either Friday, Jan. 8, or Saturday, Jan. 9. The event raised $2,950.

The menu included tea sandwiches, scones with cream and ginger curd, lavender shortbread, Italian cream cakes, chocolate truffles and Yorkshire Gold English tea. Charlene Miller provided piano music and Denise Graham sang accompanied by Kayla Dyment on Saturday.

Preparing for 'Cabaret'

The tea also included a tour of the new main stage, site for the musical "Cabaret" that will run Feb. 5-21. The main stage boasts comfortable seats that provide good views from any place in the auditorium.

At one side of the room is the donors door, saved from the church building OTA has rehabilitated. Donors can buy stars or bricks to adorn the panel.

Other fundraisers include buying bricks for the front walk and raffle tickets for a bench painted by Abbie Fanestil. The bench has the word Sequim painted with area treasures such as the local elk, New Dungeness Lighthouse and the Olympic Mountains. OTA also is selling mini-season tickets for shows through July 17. Besides "Cabaret," there will be "Dear Jennifer," "Spider on the Sill" and "Bullshot Crummond."

Unscheduled interlude

Those interested in purchasing any of these items can contact OTA at olympictheatrearts,org, by calling 683-7326, or at the box office at 414 N. Sequim Ave.

One of my grandmother's teas held in her rose garden ended abruptly when her old English sheepdog wandered into the party fresh from a dip in the river. He shook water all over the guests.

The OTA tea Saturday also ended abruptly when fire alarms went off and everyone exited quickly. Fire District No. 3 crews arrived to find there was no fire - only steam from the dishwasher that had activated the alarms.

They'll be sure not to wash dishes during performances.

Reach Dana Casey at

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