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A whimsical tea complete with fine china, finger foods and teapots full of the good stuff greeted several handfuls of youths Thursday at the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club’s Trower Center.

Add to that “royal” hosts and presents galore, and the Easter gathering for the Club’s youngest members quickly got into full swing.

“It’s really fun to see them be introduced to this kind of culture,” said Christina Allen, site supervisor at Trower. “This kind of thing, this etiquette, will stay with them forever.”

A wish to inspire kids, help them explore the world around them and the magic of Easter inspired the event. Executive Director Anna Eaton posed the idea and staff ran with it.

Judging by their excited expressions, the kids were totally on board with the festivities.

About two dozen boys and girls dressed to the nines, occupying two rooms, learned a lesson in the culture of tea from a “prince” and “princess.” The hosts taught the youths to pull out their chairs, enter from their left, and sit.
Next came quick bits on serving the tea and related delicacies.

“You want to be careful because it’s hot,” said Princess Abigail, advising the youths on the handling of the teapots on each table. In demonstration, she poured herself a cup, added a cube of sugar and then a splash of cream, then stirred with a tiny spoon.

“Don’t hit the side of the cup,” she pointed out. “You don’t want to make noise.”
“Then you let it cool?” asked Robert Deldadillo, 7, his face a study in seriousness.

“Yes,” Princess Abby replied, adjusting the skirt of her frothy baby blue and silver ballgown.
She advised them to sip and not slurp and to enjoy the crustless finger sandwiches, scones, mini muffins, strawberries, butter and jam.

“Remember to offer to others before you serve yourself,” she cautioned.

Robert took that to heart, grabbing the tongs and offering the snacks to his tablemates before piling a few pieces on his plate.

“Yeah, it’s good,” he said, enjoying his feast. His favorites? “The muffin and the strawberry and this,” he said, holding up a sandwich. “I think it’s tuna.”

Alex Vales, 13, had already had a big breakfast so the food wasn’t a draw for him. Instead, it was the history behind the event.

“I learned that back then, the people that had parties like this used to be really fancy,” he said. “And then it stopped.”

It was a fashionable thing that, well, went out of fashion, he continued. So, to experience this today was nothing short of amazing.
“It’s pretty extraordinary how they set up the silverware, the cups, the plates and food and teach us how to eat like this,” Alex mused.

Monica Billups, meanwhile, appreciated another part of the experience.

“My favorite thing about today was learning how to make the tea,” the 10-year-old said.

The scone, too, was a favorite, she added.

As the dining areas were cleared to make way for more fun, including the giveaway of giant Easter baskets filled with everything from plush dogs to dolls, other toys and snacks, the adults expressed joy at such a successful endeavor.

“I think it went really well. They enjoyed the tea, they enjoyed the food,” Allen said. “We will do this again.”

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