Tea, Workshops, a Regency Dress Record, and More Tea: A Delightful Weekend in Louisville
By Mayme Bolt, Metropolitan St. Louis Region
Despite a little drizzle on Friday night, July 18, there was Twilight Shopping, which proved a lot of fun. Traditional Kentucky food was served, and the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death was observed with the playing of music from the Regency period. The tea company, Bingley’s Tea, was there, and the first 25 people who bought tea received a free tote bag. Yes, I got my bag. I love their Jane Austen tea series.
On Saturday, the fun started early at Locust Grove: dueling, archery, shuttlecock, and other activities ran throughout the day, including a Navy Encampment. There were workshops, such as how to tie a cravat, and my favorite afternoon tea. Four different Bingley Teas were available to choose from, along with Mini Hot Browns (a Kentucky specialty), scones, egg-salad sandwiches, and Benedictine sandwiches (also a Kentucky favorite). For dessert, we were able to choose from blackberry jam cake, lavender rum cake (amazing), bread pudding, and of course, Mr. Darcy’s lemon pound cake. The authors John Mullen (What Matters in Jane Austen) and Jo Baker (Longbourn) were guest speakers on Saturday, followed by a book signing.
The highlight of Saturday was trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people in Regency dress. Bath, England, held the record—409 people. Despite our efforts last year, we missed the mark by 50-plus people. But I’m happy to say we beat the record this year with around 491 people, who also walked in the Promenade. All of us who walked donated a dollar to the Jane Austen House, and JASNA Louisville is matching the donation. The day ended with a ball on Saturday night, which I am sorry to say, I could not attend.
On Sunday my mother and I were volunteers in the morning: checking people in for their teas and workshops. The navy Chaplin held services that morning, and later my cousin joined us for another tea! I can’t say no to tea!
Throughout the weekend there was shopping at the “Shoppe of Meryton.” Inside, Lydia Fast was selling her beautiful hats. (Lauren, my niece, bought one for her birthday last year and was wearing it with the riding habit she wore this year). A wig maker and a bookseller were present also.
They are hoping to put on the festival again next year. Right now they are trying to balance having the AGM next October and the festival next July. It’s a lot of work for Bonny to organize.
Below is a link to events held at this year’s Louisville festival:
Also, here is a link to a blog that describes Lydia Fast’s beautiful hats:
The following pictures and legends from the Louisville Jane Austen Festival July 18-20 have been provided by JASNA StL member Mayme Bolt. Mayme attended the festival this year with her mother, Mary Raybourn, and her niece, Lauren Bolt. Thank you Mayme. All photos copyright © Mayme Bolt. All rights reserved.
Lauren and her “Mr. Darcy.”
Lauren met him at the festival. He was a volunteer. She’s introducing him to “Lady Catherine” for her approval.
Mary Raybourn (mom), myself, and Lauren.
Myself and my own “Mr. Knightly.”
We all took pictures of each other throughout the weekend; none of us knew one another.
Mayme and Lauren
Morning of day 2.
Lauren in her hired litter.
John is the litter-bearer’s name; he comes each year with his wife.
Lydia Fast (she made Lauren’s riding hat), couldn’t tell you the gentleman’s name, and Lauren. The “gentleman” sneaked into the picture by surprise.
Lauren and “Wickham.” He played Wickman in last year’s festival play, “Darcy and Elizabeth, a Love Story.”
Lauren with other volunteers and recanters.
Mayme Bolt and Alanna Wuest.
We met at last year’s festival and remained friends throughout the year.
Mayme and John
I had to have my turn.
The first time Lauren met “Lady Catherine” and her ladies in waiting. Lauren was terrified of her. Lady Catherine plays her part perfectly.
Lauren and Sarah with Sarah’s girls.
Sarah comes each year to the festival.