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A tip of a Mad Hat to 'Alice in Wonderland' creator at a library tea party

Published 8:54 pm, Friday, January 24, 2014

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  • Women model the creative head wear they fashioned for the Mad Hatter Tea Party at the Westport Library on Friday. Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News contributed
    Women model the creative head wear they fashioned for the Mad Hatter Tea Party at the Westport Library on Friday. Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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When the Mad Hatter asked, "Have I gone mad?" Alice, of Wonderland fame, told him, "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

Around 50 fans of legendary author Lewis Carroll celebrated his 182th birthday Friday afternoon at a Mat Hatter Tea Party at the Westport Library.

Co-sponsored by the library and the Y's Women, women showed their chapeau creativity in a hat-design contest, along with socializing and high tea snacks. The event was a fundraiser for the library.

"It's a lot of fun," said Judith Noe, whose homemade creation was selected as the most romantic.

Cheryl McKenna, a local artist who judged the contest, said many of the 20 or so hat entries appeared to have been inspired by the British period TV show, "Downton Abbey."

"I think it was wonderful," she said of the event. "I think the artists showed how crazy we could get next year, and I hope we continue for many years."

For Susan Rigelhaupt, the hat she fashioned had special meaning.

"My grandmother had been a milliner many years ago and it was inspiring to me," she said of her "Gramma Margaret," who lived in the Bronx.

Rigelhaupt even took a millinery class and enjoyed the opportunity to design her own hat.

Other participants were just pleased to be at the event.

"I was not a winner, but I can wear this to lots of places," Joyce Guttman said of her hat.

"I'm happy," she added. "I think it's a pretty hat."

Along with food and friendly chat, those in attendance -- though not exactly "bonkers" -- were pleased by the convivial literary event.

"This was a terrific way to spend a cold Friday afternoon," said MarySue Waterman, a programmer for the library, "laughing with friends."