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Lisa Laughlin, 2021-2022 President, Women’s Council; Claire Catrino, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Tea

Celebrating its 34th Year benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dallas welcomed 530 guests, more guests than ever before in its 34-year history and earned a record net of just under $270,000, with more donations coming in every day.

Claire Catrino, Mad Hatter’s Tea chair and Lisa Loy Laughlin, president of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden were joined by honorary chair Laurie Sands Harrison, dedicated volunteers, supporters, sponsors and underwriters on a lovely, breezy spring day at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
People from all over the southwest make plans to attend Mad Hatter’s Tea every year and jump on those reservations the minute the opportunity goes online.  It’s the perfect time for friends to have a fun day together surrounded by the beautiful and glorious blooms at the nationally renowned Dallas Arboretum and the event’s beneficiary, A Woman’s Garden.         

Always a fun and entertaining event, the variety of hats and stylish fashions, sophisticated, crazy and just fun were everywhere.

Calvert Collins, emcee, welcomed everyone and introduced Laurie, who said she was honored to have been honorary chair this year and reminded everyone that her mother, the late Caroline Rose Hunt, one of Dallas’ icons, loved the Dallas Arboretum. Her hat showed a very touching tribute.

Claire took the stage and as she so gracefully held onto her hat in the breezes, thanked major sponsors, including Dr. Linda Burk, Robin Carreker, Cortez Resources, D&M Leasing, Laurie Sands Harrison, Penny Reid and The Rosewood Corporation.
Claire also announced something entirely new for this year, the Inaugural Innovators in Design Awards recognizing new and established female artists in the Dallas community: Cindy Avroch, Diana Brosseau, Lori Cusick, Barbara Durham, Kallie Hauschild, Sharon Lee and Addison Sloane, whose fabulous artworks, created just for this event, were open for bidding in the silent auction.
Calvert invited each hat judge to join her on stage and announced the winners:

1. Best Use of Botanical Components: "Bluebonnets."  Judge: Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum CEO. Winners: It’s a Tie: Marena Gault and Elizabeth Smith.

2. Most True to Theme: "Flying Horse." Judge: Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President and CEO, Dallas Symphony Association. She had to leave early, so emcee, Calvert Collins, presented that award. Winner: Prashe Shah

 3. Best Big Over the Top Texas Hat: "Everything is Bigger in Texas!" Judge: Barbara Bigham, Philanthropist. Winner: Dr. Linda Burk

 4. Best Fascinator: "Uptown Girl." Judge: Vanessa Logan, Executive Director, Texas Ballet Theater. Winner: Venise Stuart

 5. Best Group Hats: "Dallas Dynasty." Judge: Amy Hofland, Executive Director, Crow Museum of Asian Art. Winner: “Debbie at Table 50” which is Debbie McKeever and her group.

 6. People’s Choice Award: "Deep in the Hat of Texas." Judge: Chosen by the people. Awarded by Lisa Loy Laughlin, President, Women’s Council, and Claire Catrino, Chair, Mad Hatter’s Tea. Winner: Robert Wilson

7. Best in Show: "Don’t Mess with Dallas." Judge: Tanya Taylor, Featured Celebrity Designer. Winners: It’s a Tie: Sharla Bush and Terry Irby.

After announcements, there was an elegant and lovely luncheon and a European-style fashion show highlighting styles of the spring season featuring designs by Tanya Taylor, renowned fashion designer who jetted-in especially for this event and more, presented by TOOTSIES and produced by Jan Strimple Productions.
Mad Hatter’s Tea benefits the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden, which is the only garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. The Women’s Council’s 40th Anniversary will be celebrated in the Fall of 2022.   
Media sponsors are PaperCity, People Newspapers, My Sweet Charity.
Check the website at for details, photos and news about the Women’s Council.

 (Photos by Danny Campbell, Thomas Garza, Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S COUNCIL:  Since 1986 the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the only public garden in the United States conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women. The support of over 500 members of the Women’s Council makes possible the continued expansion and development of A Woman’s Garden. The Women’s Council is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

ABOUT A WOMAN’S GARDEN: Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in Fall of 2022: A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. Ablaze with color in every season, A Woman’s Garden sits majestically as a living testament to the passion and vision of the Women’s Council founders and the boundless energy and devotion of its members whose commitment to creating a garden dedicated to the universal spirit of women across generations is realized in its inspired design. Our beautiful garden celebrates the power, creativity, resourcefulness, passion and unwavering commitment of the women who came before us and those entrusted with its care now, and into the future. 

ENDOWMENT TRUST HISTORY: In May 1995 the Women’s Council broke ground on Phase I of A Woman’s Garden. On October 4, 1997, Phase I of A Woman’s Garden opened to the public. Just three years later in 2000, the Women’s Council met its obligation to fund the $1.5 million endowment trust to support the ongoing maintenance of Phase I. In August 2021 the Women’s Council met its obligation four years ahead of schedule to complete the funding of the $1.6 million endowment trust to support the ongoing maintenance of A Woman's Garden.

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