By Randy Johnston

Special to the Osceola Edition

MARION – Ladies don’t dress up too often these days, and hats definitely belong to a bygone era.

But if you were at Out of the Past antique store on April 30, you witnessed a charming and rare sight -- a bevy of women in spring finery wearing hats of all sizes and shapes adorned with extravagant plumes, flowers and ribbons.

They gathered to attend the Back in Thyme Tea Party and Fashion Show hosted by Out of the Past owner Sally Zoyiopoulos.

More than 20 women from Marion, Hersey, Evart, Dearborn, Sears, Midland and Mecosta were welcomed with white tablecloths and dainty cups that set the tone for a tea party ambience. A celebration of spring was created with fragrant bouquets and colorful floral arrangements furnished by Christie’s Potting Shed and Florist.

While sipping a variety of teas, the ladies enjoyed a presentation by Della Helton, connoisseur of teas and student of tea etiquette and traditions. Helton, who dressed for the occasion in a long flowered gown and wide-brimmed hat, spoke about the origin of English teatime and how to brew a proper pot of tea.

During the luncheon, which included flavorful teas, warm fruit compote and scones, the ladies were treated to a fashion show of vintage gowns and dresses provided by the Atomic Closet in Cadillac.

Highlights of the fashion show were a wedding gown with veil and a pink Chantilly lace bridesmaid dress from the 1950s.

The young ladies who poured tea, served the luncheon and modeled the gowns and dresses are all from Marion and members of the Girl Scout Cadets, Troop 3094, under the leadership of Eleanore Warner. Participating as servers were Samantha England and Alexus Johnson. The models were Alison Brady, Rebecca Johnson and Lillian Swiler.

“I really liked the fashion show,” said Peggy Hoard from Marion. “This is a perfect occasion for an afternoon out with friends, having tea and looking at fashions out of the past.”

“A tea is a great way to celebrate spring,” said Shirley Fernandez who came with five friends from Evart, all members of the Classy Lassies in Purple and Red Club. “We are easy to spot because we always wear red or purple hats at our outings, and I don’t think we ever get enough chances to dress up.”

“I am happy the tea party was a success,” said Zoyiopoulos. “The ladies really seemed to be enjoying themselves. And I can’t thank my young helpers from the Girl Scouts enough. They really helped make the day special. Thanks also to my assistant, Cheryl Wojcik. I couldn’t do an event like this without her.”

As the ladies departed, each received a special memento of a pleasant afternoon -- a long-stemmed crimson rose.

Did you know?

Out of the Past is more than an antique store and gift shop. Owner Sally Zoyiopoulos is an avid knitter and spinner of yarn. During the summer, she will present a number of craft demonstrations including knitting and spinning yarn. For more information about the demonstrations and next year’s tea party, call Zoyiopoulos at (231) 743-2257. She will be glad to place your name on a mailing list to receive announcements of upcoming events.

  • Out of the Past is at 16155 M-115, Marion. The store, which is closed in the winter, reopens on June 18. Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer and fall months.
  • Christie’s Potting Shed and Florist is at 321 S. Mill St., Marion – open seven days a week most of the year. It is a full service nursery and florist with a myriad of traditional and exotic fresh flowers and house plants. It is also a gift shop offering an inviting choice of gift items, antiques, collectibles and balloons for all occasions. For more information, call (231) 743-6267.
  • Christie Prielipp, owner of the Potting Shed, donated the long-stemmed roses that each lady received at the Out of the Past tea party.
  • Della Helton of Tustin is available to speak to your group or organization about the ritual of afternoon tea, tea preparation, types of teas and other related topics. For further information, call Helton at (231) 779-0275.
  • The Atomic Closet is at 122 N. Mitchell St., Cadillac. The shop specializes in wearable vintage clothing from the Victorian era to the early ‘80s. Take a look also at their extensive collection of crystal chandeliers and other intriguing items. For more information, contact the owner, Kristine Anderson at (231) 468-2939.