Patrons and servers mingle during last year's Winter Victorian Tea at The Old School Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach. The tea returns to the centre this weekend.

TOSH turns back clock with Victorian Tea

Arts centre partners with Qualicum Museum in popular fundraising event Friday and Saturday

In an effort to “change things around,” The Old School House and Arts Centre and the Qualicum Beach Museum Society stopped hosting their annual Winter Victorian Tea nearly a decade ago. But the tea is back, it’s as popular as ever, and it’s scheduled to return this weekend to the arts centre.

“It’s been going on for about 25 years,” said Corrine James, co-organizer of the tea. “We took a hiatus for a few years and did other things, like a festival of trees. Then five years ago we thought, maybe we can go back to our roots.”

It’s proven to be a good decision. Two sittings scheduled for Friday have already sold out, and only a few tickets remained late last weekend for Saturday’s noon and 2 p.m. sittings. Tea is served by volunteers from the local historical society, dressed in Victorian-era costume, and the setting includes vintage and antique teacups, silverware and linens. A piano will provide a quiet background of seasonal songs as tea is served with a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, rich cakes and fancy pastries.

“It’s a way to be pampered, when you have Victorian tea,” said James. “We’ll have a choir singing, and everything is hand-made and the food homemade.”

Entertainment will be provided for Friday’s sittings by the Men of Accord Choir, and on Saturday by a vintage fashion show by Merlyn Patten, the “Vintage Clothing Lady.”

The Mid Island Floral Club will decorate the room with artistically arranged trees and wreaths, and the wreaths will be sold via silent auction to raise money for local charities. The Old School Arts Centre is following suit by hanging as many as 50 small paintings by local artists, which will be auctioned off starting at $50 with proceeds going to the local food bank.

James credited OPUS Art Supplies which donated the 50 6×6-inch canvases and the local artists with creating the unique paintings for the events. “They’re like a little jewel,” she said of the paintings. “They’re all newly created for the tea, in all different styles and different techniques.”

Proceeds from the tea, meanwhile, will go to support the two host organizations. “It’s a great way for two organizations to work together,” James said of the arts centre’s partnership with the museum society.

“It’s not very often we do crossover events, and I think it’s good for people to work together, especially for a cause like this.” Tickets are $15. To check on availability of tickets for Saturday’s sittings, call 250-752-6133.

— NEWS staff

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