Princess for a day with Soroptimists of Arbutus

Many little girls dream of being a princess like Ariel, Belle or Jasmine.

For about 25 girls, along with about 20 of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and friends, that opportunity came Saturday afternoon during the fourth annual Princess Tea Party hosted by Soroptimists International of Arbutus.

The April 20 event at First Baptist Church of Lansdowne on Alma Road featured tea and punch served in glass teacups with cookies, storybook readings by the fairy godmother, door prizes and crafts.

"We find out that, if you really check around, there's not a lot of stuff for mothers and daughters (in the area)," said Soroptimists member and tea party founder Alverta Dockins.

She said she came up with the idea for the tea party after hearing about a similar event elsewhere in Maryland and for the past four years the group has used the event both as an annual fundraiser and also a way to bring women together.

"It's just been a fun fundraiser," Dockins said.

"The children seem to love it," she said.

"The mothers seem to enjoy it as much as the girls do," she added.

Arbutus resident Arlene Grochmal attended the event with her twin granddaughters, 5-year-olds Meredith and Mackenzie Mahon.

"They've been talking about it for months now," Grochmal said.

"They love getting dressed up and doing the crafts," she said. "They wear the costumes more than they wear their clothes."

Meredith, dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, said she was looking forward to decorating a pink purse.

On Saturday, little princesses could choose from pink or purple hats and purses to decorate with flowers and stickers after listening to the fairy godmother read "The Princess of 8th Street" by Linas Alsenas, a book about being a princess in the city.

"It's important to encourage magic and wonder," said Catonsville resident Niki Hord, who acted as the fairy godmother Saturday.

Hord, who joined the Arbutus branch of Soroptimists in January, has been a performer for many years, including acting at Community College of Baltimore County.

"When we were talking about putting together the tea...I actually asked if I could be the fairy godmother," Hord said.

She said her job was to "add a little bit of magic" to the day.

Her assignment was made easier by seeing girls from different areas come together.

"My favorite thing about today is the community in the room," Hord said. "They're all bonded because they're all princesses." .

Melissa Snyder, president of Soroptimists International of Arbutus, attended with her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Isabelle Snyder.

Isabelle arrived wearing a green dragon costume, complete with yellow spots and tail, and spent the afternoon frolicking with the princesses in pink, roaring occasionally.

Her princess dress was "too itchy," she said.

Her mother echoed Hord's feelings about the sense of community.

"It's a fundraiser for the club, but it's more fun to just do things with our little ones," Snyder said.

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