Suffice it to say, whether or not you are a current fan of the PBS Masterpiece Theater series, Downton Abbey, you are going to LOVE Season 3, set to debut this Sunday evening locally on WEDU.
One hundred very special guests were treated to a delightful luncheon and a preview screening of the first hour of the new season on Wednesday at Michael's On East. Being devoted Downton Abbey-ites, Anita Holec, who is a WEDU board member, and I were thrilled to be the co-chairs of the event.
Part of the fun was that so many women dressed in costume, or at the very least, a beautiful hat. I love that about the English - they wear hats for so many occasions and I think most women look simply divine and so very festive in a fetching chapeau. I believe ALL the men attending wore their best finery and they all looked devastatingly handsome.
We started with a lovely champagne reception in the courtyard and guests could have their photos taken in front of the Highclere Castle backdrop. I cropped a large portion of the backdrop out of the photo below with Anita and myself, but it was quite massive! It added such a wonderfully authentic touch to the party. Guests could also give a gift to Lady Mary's bridal registry in the form of a donation to WEDU or buy a raffle ticket for an overflowing basket of Downton Abbey goodies.
During the luncheon, a screen showed terrific photos of DA with lots of pithy quotes and fun trivia questions. The meal was delish - yummy chicken and spinach crepes, forbidden rice, vegetables, and to top it off, macadamia nut tart. If you have ever been to a luncheon I have chaired, you have most likely had this for dessert. It is my very dessert MOE dessert of all time!
After lunch, it was time for the piece de resistance - the screening of the first hour of Season 3 and it did not disappoint! I laughed, I cried, I cheered - it was simply divine! It was everything we all wanted and more. I will not tell you what happened as I don't want to spoil it for you, but you will not want to miss this episode. Brian Lipton had a marvelous idea. He said we should form a Fans of Downton Abbey club (FoDAs) and get together to watch it every Sunday! It was quite interesting how different the experience was to watch it as a group. It was so much fun!
What a glorious and civilized way to welcome in the New Year! If you were unable to make it, you missed a very special event!
In addition to those photographed below, others attending included Gila Meriwether, Joan Kindred, Sheila Lirtzman, Cornelia Matson, Joy Naylor, Susan Buck, Dr. Liz Callahan, Diane Muhlfeld, Alice Rau, Racheal Jakes, and oh so many fabulous more!
Debbi Benedict (me) and Anita Holec
Billy and Dorothy Firestone
Kim Wheeler, Renee Hamad, and Sheila Murray
Bobbie Hamilton and Edris Weis
Ralph Preistman, Anne Virag, Brian Lipton, and seated, Liz Preistman
Ethna Wishnie and Dawn Epstein
Joan Nixon and Tish FitzGerald
Janet Hunter and Gloria Moss
Susan Callahan, Noelle Haft, and Hillary Steele
Lynn Robbins and Mary Anne Servian
Rose Robertson, Diane Slattery, and Julie Riddell
Kathy Standard and Selden Frissell
Joan Campo-Liga and Melba Jimenez
Stephanie Grosskreutz and Patti Mikolas
Jane Ebury and Susan Ford
Cheryl Burstein, Donna Mateer, and Priscilla Doulton
Sue Jacobson, Marilyn Harwell, and Sue Seiter
WEDU President and CEO, Susan Howarth
WEDU staff Allison Hedrick and Nancy Curry
Claire O'Connor Solomon and Maltee Ramlochan
The huge Downton Abbey gift basket
Ready for the champagne reception!
The screen showed lots of photos with the pithy remarks from the show....
.....and fun trivia questions
The table set with calla lillies inspired by Lady Mary's bridal bouquet
The menu card
My very favorite MOE dessert - Macadamia nut tart!