Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post Archives

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 1: Wordpress)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog via Wordpress and receive notifications of new posts by email. You will receive emails every time—and as soon as—a new post is made.

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 2: Feedburner)

Use this link to subscribe to this blog via Feedburner and receive notifications of new posts by email:

You will receive just one email at the end of the day (around 11:00 PM Eastern Time) summarizing all the posts made during the day.

You may also use the “By Email” link in the upper right hand corner of the page.

12th annual British Garden Party a huge success

Imagine a bright blue sky overhead, and under your feet a lush green lawn. In the center of the green, a tall maypole with bright ribbons streaming in the wind, and around it, colorful booths with baked goods, plants and flowers, pub drink and grub, games of chance, Arts & Crafts, and a table full of interesting jumble. If you attended St Stephen’s 12th annual British Garden Party and Fête on May 4, you were treated to such a magical afternoon.

With over 150 guests served in the Tea Room and the parking lot filled by 11:45 A.M., thanks to the assistance of our authentic Bobbie, this year’s Garden Party enjoyed perhaps its biggest attendance ever. It was a fine hour for St Stephen’s congregation and volunteers.

Here’s how events unfolded:

The planning of the Garden Party started months ago when Donna Szper turned over her detailed operating history to the fledgling Parish Life committee managers. A first move was to track the event on project planning software, set up by Bill Hawkins. Other planning committee members included Annie Hawkins, Don Ruthig, and Dick Huffman, with Martha Miller and Priscilla Huffman serving as co-chairs for the Garden Party.

With this strong start, the volunteers, many with years of Garden Party experience, picked up the project, and momentum rolled from there. The Parish Life meetings afforded volunteers a chance to put forth their ideas and suggestions, all of which were welcomed.

The week before, many hands helped with pricing jumble, decorating, baking, making signs, erecting the tents in our new layout (and testing some bottles of Harp in the process!).

The Garden Party was opened by our Master of Ceremonies, Dan Bursi, who also served as the jester. The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band piped in King Henry (Fr. Jon Filkins), Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (Fr. Rhae Kelley), and our rector, Fr. Guy, who provided the invocation. The traditional English atmosphere was continued as the maypole dancing activity provided by the Baltimore Folk Music Society kicked off the afternoon fun. Garden Party guests were invited to join in celebrating the month of May with a traditional maypole dance.

Always a favorite, the pipe band held everyone’s attention as they paraded in again to offer many familiar and traditional pipe band airs. Madrigal singing was provided by Camerata Musica, dressed in full renaissance costumes.

Guests wandered the green visiting our many booths. Books were a bargain buy, as well as lovely British prints and items offered by the Daughters of the British Empire. Our “”Best of British” flower show theme was carried out with 16 creative and humorous entries.

Many a pint was enjoyed at The Barley Mow, our new authentic British-style pub crafted (along with the wheels and maypole) by our creative Don Ruthig.

The younger guests enjoyed the Bouncing Castle, races, games, and face-painting. We thoughtfully added a parent lounge this year located near the new gym equipment which has been installed at the side of the lawn.

The volume of jumble exceeded anything in past years, and required several volunteers to keep up with brisk sales.

New booths this year included the Arts & Crafts table, a silent auction, and a chocolate wheel. A roving card illusionist entertained both children and adults.

Another innovation this year was to expand the offering at the Bake table to provide some smaller portions and items in addition to our cakes. . The Raspberry Crowns sold out, so these may become a popular tradition at both the Garden Party and Cookie Walk.

Very happily, gross receipts exceeded our investment in materials and supplies.

We invite your feedback on continuing to make the Garden Party a successful event. Please e-mail any comments to Dick Huffman at

Again, thanks for the extraordinary efforts on the part of our many volunteers. For those who missed out on the fun of preparation and organization, you are invited to join the happy crew next year for camaraderie and fellowship. Priscilla and Dick Huffman

Comments are closed.