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Downton Abbey tea party fill library

It was tea time at the Grand Forks and District Public Library on Saturday (GFPL). The library hosted a Downton Abbey themed tea, which proved popular with 52 adults and seven children coming out to take part.

Downton Abbey is a British period drama TV show that will air its fifth season this year. According to Lizanne Eastwood, event organizer and GFPL’s Program and Outreach Coordinator, the library’s staff has been watching the show since it first started.

The idea was originally presented to the library by the late Dave Watts, who has been the president of both the library’s board of directors and also Friends of the Library in the past. He thought it would be a great idea to have a discussion group about the show.

GFPL director Avi Silberstein agreed to host an event, instead of a regular discussion group and so the tea party idea was born. It took several weeks to put it together and Eastwood says it was really a community effort and that the event took on a life of its own.

“The staff worked really hard to support me in this William Caley (on the board of directors) offered to play the role of the butler and baked some of the goodies. Another woman who saw the posting about the upcoming event offered all the teapots and cups. (It was) totally a community effort,” she said.

The event was about almost two hours and started with tea and snacks. After that, Helen Durham, who writes plays and books about local history, gave a demonstration on how dolls were used to make and sell outfits to wealthy people in the era.

Eastwood then did a “who said it” quiz using quotes from the show and then the guests played charades.

“The feedback has been great,” said Eastwood. “One woman told me she was so happy to attend an event where people got excited and dressed up. We had many people ask us to do it again. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.”