Thirty women got tastes of Hillsboro food, history, and businesses Saturday in the inaugural “Step into Summer” tea sponsored by Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.
The event included a tour of W.F. Schaeffler House Museum, a tea at Olde Towne Events Center featuring food items from local businesses, and a fashion show by Nancy’s Fashions.
Renee Hammar and Lillian Bookless, co-workers at Hillsboro Community Hospital, attended the tea together. Hammar saw posters for the event and invited Bookless to attend with her. It was the first time either had been in Schaeffler House.
“I’ve been here 23 years and I’ve never been there,” Bookless said. “It was beautiful.”
Hammar, who moved to Hillsboro three years ago, said the event was a good way to become more acquainted with Hillsboro.
“It’s interesting to see the different vendors here and learn more about the town,” she said.
The chamber planned the event to showcase businesses and promote downtown, member Marie Kessler said.
“We actually started this a year ago,” she said. “We didn’t have a facility; things didn’t quite click. Then it all started falling into place.”
A piece of the puzzle fell into place last fall when Kessler started managing Olde Towne Event Center for owner Gary Reimann of McPherson. The former restaurant has been used for events, such as wedding rehearsal dinners and a pancake feed, and was the right size and atmosphere for the tea, Kessler said.
“People are very excited about it,” she said. “People are just loving that the building is getting used. It’s got such character, and they hated to see it going to waste.”
Joni Calam of Cottage Tea prepared a light meal featuring food items from local merchants. She chose different patterns of china and glassware for each table.
“She has a real knack for doing this kind of thing,” committee member Sheryl Richert said. “The dishes are hers; the linens are hers. It took her a whole day to decide what linens went with what table.”
Kessler said the event represented a shift from having scattered promotional events throughout the year.
“Our goal is to try to connect the community with the businesses we have,” she said. “We thought we’d center on three events and make them bigger and better. They become events people want to come to every year.”