The Sixth Annual Crowns Tea will be held at the Norman Public Library, on Sunday afternoon, February 22, as part of the library’s observation of Black History Month. The required, free tickets for the event were made available at the African American Read-In on Sunday, February 8, and within 24 hours every available ticket was taken and a lengthy waiting list began to grow.
“This event has grown in complexity and popularity each year, but this is the fastest that tickets have ever gone,” says event organizer Judy Day, Adult Information Services Manager at the library. “There is such a demand that we are asking ticket-holders to please notify us immediately if they cannot use their tickets so we can pass them on to people on the waiting list.”
The ladies-only event is a celebration of the Black tradition of the church hat and is based upon the photo essay CROWNS: Portraits of Black Woman in Church Hats by Cunningham and Marberry. Each guest at the tea receives a complimentary souvenir portrait taken in the style of those in the book. Candid and group photos are also taken during the event to be posted online for free access and downloading from PLS Flickr.
“There is a definite theme for the tea,” says Day. “Hats! We will have hats on display, we will have loaner hats that women can borrow for the occasion, and we will have hats that they can try on and purchase. We want everyone to get into the spirit of the tea by wearing a hat.”
Catered by Legend’s Restaurant in Norman, the tea will feature a program by Erica Thomas designed to create the atmosphere of a Southern Black church service. Thomas, a minister with the United Methodist Church, will use singers from her church choir and from the Cimarron Circuit Opera Company to add a gospel sound to the proceedings.
The Crowns Tea is sponsored by the Friends of the Norman Library, Pioneer Library System, Norman Arts Council, Oklahoma Arts Council, Cimarron Circuit Opera Company, and Legend’s Restaurant.
For more information about the tea or to add your name to the waiting list for tickets, visit the library or call 701-2600.