The hall at the Chestnuthill Township Community Park was transformed to a place of color and light as the Chestnuthill Township Historical Society waited for guests at a Victorian Tea.

Tables were swathed in tablecloths with brightly colored placemats and napkins. Each place had a teacup and saucer - many of them from the collection of Nancy Christman, who organized the event. Each table had a bright pink peony.

A raffle was held in conjunction with the tea.

A table was filled with artifacts of local history from 10,000 years ago to the early 1900s.

Christman, society president, said she proposed the tea and the group "took to it."

All food was donated and members served the guests. She said she has been collecting cups for 10 years and her children and friends donate to a collection of mugs.

Stuart Thody, historical society member, passed around a cross with a picture of Queen Victoria and a trivet showing the crest for Queen Elizabeth II. He said for 900 years the lion symbolized England.

Victoria was born in 1819 and died in 1901. Her father died shortly after she was born. She reigned for almost 64 years and is associated with industrial expansion. England had the largest navy in the world which helped her expand the empire.

At Runymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, there is an acre of ground that was given to the United States. In the center is a seven-ton stone dedicated as a memorial by Queen Elizabeth and Jacqueline Kennedy in 1965.

Thody said tea was first discovered by accident when, in 2737 BC, a Chinese man boiled drinking water and some tea leaves fell into it. The aroma was delightful, and the beverage was energizing and refreshing. Consequently, tea bushes were planted in the palace garden.

By the fifth century tea drinking had medicinal uses and began to spread beyond China. In Europe it became an expensive drink. It was carried on fast clipper ships to maintain freshness.

By the 18th century it came to North America with the resulting Boston Tea Party when the king tried to tax tea.

Thomas Sullivan began putting tea leaves in bags in the 20th century.

The Duchess of Bedford began serving a light meal and the formal "tea" was begun. The high tea in England costs between $60 and $70 per person

It is now an economic powerhouse with 2.5 million tons grown annually.

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Sandwiches:

Cucumber cream cheese

Tuna salad

Egg salad

Ham and Swiss cheese

Peanut butter and jelly

Desserts:

Mini éclairs

Mini cream puffs

Sugar cookies

Cheese cakes

Carrot cakes

Brownies

Fruit:

Strawberries

Watermelon

Dried apricots

Red grapes

Green grapes

Orange

Honeydew

Beverages:

Choice of eight teas

Hot chocolate

with marshmallows

Lemonade