The Annual Tea Party of the Placentia Area Historical Society was special this year because it was the 85th. Anniversary of the Society. First called The Ancient Capital Historical Committee it was set up on August 10, 1937.
Held on Saturday, August 13, the Tea Party, as usual, included, the reading of a proclamation by the Town Crier, music, refreshments, costumes, and the presentation of a Heritage Award. New this year was the planting of a tree, giving spruce seedlings to participants, encouraging ladies to wear fancy hats or fascinators, and the reading of a new poem on the history of the Placentia Area. A newspaper report of the first meeting in 1937 was also read by the emcee. It was provided by Donny Lannon.
While first doubtful, Saturday afternoon turned into a sunny day. The event was opened by President Tom O’Keefe extending a welcome to all and outlining the program for the day. Vice-president Anita O’Keefe took over as emcee and guided the program. The first event was Town Crier Angus Gilbert reading a proclamation from the Town which was then signed by Councillor Kay Smith, representing Mayor Keith Pearson, and she also brought greetings from the town. Interestingly Councillor Smith is the granddaughter of Neila Fitzpatrick Murphy, the first president of the Ancient Capital Historical Committee. MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh was present and brought greetings from the province. She also assisted President Tom O’Keefe in planting a lilac tree in recognition of the Anniversary.
The Heritage Award this year was presented to The Anglican Parish of the Holy Trinity. This was in recognition of their having preserved artifacts in St. Luke’s Church, making the church available to the Historical Society for special events, and turning it over to the Society after it was closed as a church in 2020. The award was received by Reverend Debbie Panten who thanked the group.
This was followed by the cutting of an Anniversary Cake. This was done by five seniors, all who would have been alive when the first committee was set up in 1937. This was followed by the reading of a poem by one of its authors, Tour Guide Chantel Collins. The poem reviews the history of Placentia and was titled The Ballad of Placentia. Tom O’Keefe shared in writing it. They hope to put it to music in the future.
Music for the Tea Party, which lasted from 2 to 4 pm, was provided by The Best Kind, a local group. The event was planned and carried out by the Tea Party Committee made of Winnie Barry, Helen Griffin, and Anita O’Keefe.