Children, Parents Pack the Library for Valentine's Day Tea

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By Joshua Clark

Hampton Union, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- Boys in suits, girls in flowery dresses. Streamers of pink and white crisscrossing their way over the room, while balloons decorated with hearts hang in the air.

Platters of desserts and trays of refreshments line the tables. This is the scene of the 5th annual Valentine's Sweetheart Tea. Held Saturday, Feb. 14, at Lane Library, it was open to all children ages 3-8.

There were a variety of activities for the children to engage in, including getting their faces painted, drinking tea out of a China set, enjoying scrumptious desserts, listening to stories that were read to them and even building a craft.

This year's craft was a Lady Lovebug bucket; a small, red metal pail that children could decorate to resemble a 'lady lovebug.'

The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Lane Memorial Library, a volunteer organization designed to bring together members of the community who have an interest in furthering the library's growth and prosperity. This year's event was organized by two Winnacunnet High School seniors.

Gigi Dawson and Kara Colarusso, both 17, organized the event to fulfill their senior seminar project.

There was a morning and afternoon session, both of which had about 20 children in attendance, all accompanied by an adult. The limited number of seats available were reserved within the first two days of sign-ups, which has become customary.

"The event always fills up on the first few days after sign-ups begin," said Susan Hughes, president of the Friends group.

When asked why she thinks the event has proven to be so popular, Hughes said that it was the opportunity for children to socialize on a different level.

"They can dress up, and it gives them a chance to be big girls and boys," said Hughes.

Wendy Corrigan, who brought her three-year-old daughter, Sienna, said the event provided a good opportunity for the children to socialize.

Corrigan said this was her first year coming to the event and she intends to come back next year.

Beth Sakelarios, who has been attending the event for the past three years with her eldest child, attended the event this year with her 3½-year-old son Cameron.

"It's a nice experience for kids these age," she said. "It's also nice because it brings together the community.

"I enjoy doing it with my kids because it's something nice to do with just mom and the boys," she said.

Dawson and Colarusso said they hope to pass the event on to future seniors in an effort to create a tradition that benefits both the children and the students.

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