Day drinking for a good cause — and hats!

I love polka dots, so I couldn’t resist taking this photo of Allyn Purvis Schwartz, left, and Tasha Blakney enjoying themselves at Hats in Bloom!

The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum has pretty much cornered the market on the best party in town! Who can beat the beautiful location, a delicious lunch catered by Holly Hambright, champagne, mimosas and Bloody Marys? Oh, and the chance to buy the loveliest and newest hats of the season!

Last Friday for the 11th year, milliner Patricia Frankum filled a tent at the historic East Knoxville garden with scores of unique and stunning hats, donating a portion of the sales proceeds to the non-profit.

And the sellout crowd of more than 200 was positively joyous! From the noise level during the shopping and lunch in the garden’s pretty Dogwood Center, you would have thought these folks had not been to a social occasion in months!

The Botanical Garden is located less than five minutes from downtown Knoxville and encompasses 44 beautiful acres of the former Howell Nurseries. It features walking trails, display gardens, unique and historic horticulture and over two miles of distinctive stone walls and charmingly preserved buildings.

But, let’s look at those hats!

During the mingling-shopping-cocktailing hour, from left, Monique Anderson, Margie Nichols, and Ginny Morrow.

From left, Lisa Carroll, Janet Greer, Erin Montgomery, and Karen Mann.

Janet Testerman Crossley, left, shops for a hat with her daughter, Muffet Testerman Buckner.

From left, Claudia Stallings, Botanical Garden CEO Sharon Moore, Maureen Dunn McBride, and Beth Ford.

Beth Ford was wearing a hat of her mother’s. Her mom used to always put a note inside each of her hats telling when she bought it and how much it cost. This one was bought for Easter in 1969 and cost $11.31 at that time. Today, that amount would equal $95.05!

Janet Testerman, left, and Dawn Ford.

Gail Jarvis, left, and Alexis Guindi.

Erin Donovan and Steve Jenkins. (I noticed there were more men than usual this year!)

Elizabeth Offringa and Sam Maynard.

From left, Mary Kathryn Kennard, Johnna Easter, and Becky Hancock.

From left, Carolyn Leahy, Rosemary Hall, Terri Brawley, and Claudia Brewton.

Allie Clouse considers a cute chappeau!

A look at a few of the hats for sale.

From left, Cathy Briscoe, Lea Anne Law, and Kim Henry.

Sara Rose, left, and Pat Scofield.

Phyllis Driver. Great hat for the dress.

Jen Terry, left, and Kendall Keller.

From left, Cathy Briscoe, Diane Zeltner, and Kim Hays.

Margie Nichols, left, with Larsen and Adrian Jay.

Hard-working photographer Scott Temple taking a little break!

When we were called inside the Dogwood Center, we discovered Beverly Kerr was playing beautiful tunes on the keyboard.

Matt Keaney, left, is chair of the Botanical Gardens’ board of directors. He’s posing with Sheryl Ely, the city of Knoxville’s director of parks and recreation.

Co-chairs of Hats in Bloom, standing from left, Victoria Thomas, Gay Lyons and Jenny Bushkell. Gay is wearing a hat she bought at the very first Hats in Bloom 11 years ago. Jenny is wearing a vintage Christian Dior hat. Not pictured is fourth co-chair Jacque Hawks who had to be out of town due to a family illness.

Diane Humphreys-Barlow, left, and Jackie Wilson.

Maria McHale, left, and Izzy Mecherie.

From left, Mary Kathryn Kennard, Tasha Blakney, and Beth Ford. Mary Kathryn definitely had the biggest hat at the event!

Lunch was Mediterranean-style chicken breast filled with feta, spinach and artichoke hearts served atop orzo salad with roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, and zucchini with pine nuts and basil topped with a red pepper-garlic vinaigrette. Fabulous.

Desserts were amazing lemon custard pavlovas with fresh blueberries.

Caterer Holly Hambright packing a to-go box for a worker who couldn’t sit down for lunch.

The packed room.

Joan Ashe, left, and Merrill Ammons

Sharon Moore, left, and Brooke Lawson.

Steve and Jennifer Vanderink.

From left, Teressia Blair, Jenny Kitts, and April Stouffer.

Sandy Martin, left, and her mother, Mary Frances Tucker.

Rose Moseley, left, and Harriet Hodge.

Ralph Cianelli, left, and Rick Fox. Rick is immediate past chair of the Botanical Garden Board.

Milliner Patricia Frankum.

Nikitia Thompson, left, and Christy Fightmaster.

From left, Kay Leibowitz, Susan Wilson, and Barbara Hillard.

Katharine Pearson Criss.

Jenny Bushkell, left, and Cathy Campbell.

Erin Bagwell, left, with her mom, Judith Foltz.

Elizabeth Offringa, left, and Linda Haynes.

From left, Elizabeth Swindeman, Mary Morris, and Lisa Carroll.

Dino Cartwright did the announcing duties.

Loved the boots!

Flowers were donated by Sevier Blumen.

Amber Parker, left, and Andrea Bailey.

Alexis Guindi, left, and Carol Coode.

Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay purchased the centerpiece on his table.

I thought this would be a good ending photo. Rick and Ralph made a quick costume change! From left, Melanie Carter, Sheryl Ely, Rick Fox, Ralph Cianelli, and Alice Allen.


Filed under: Events. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Day drinking for a good cause — and hats!

  1. Gay Lyons, on April 23rd, 2024 at 4:19 pm said:

    Thanks for being such a faithful attendee and recorder of the luncheon all these years. When we co-chairs have a question about which linen colors we have used previously, we need only consult The Blue Streak. Going from 40 guests the first year to 240 this year (the max!), the past 11 years have been a blast. It’s always such a happy event!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on April 23rd, 2024 at 4:27 pm said:

    Gay: Great job by all the co-chairs! Congrats on another wonderful success. It was so much fun!

  3. Melinda Meador, on April 23rd, 2024 at 5:06 pm said:

    Oh, one of my very favorite Knoxville events. How I miss it! Love seeing so many familiar happy faces. Thanks for posting!

  4. Monique Anderson, on April 23rd, 2024 at 5:07 pm said:

    It is a great event. I look forward to it every Spring!

  5. Carol Bradley, on April 23rd, 2024 at 5:46 pm said:

    Love the fascinators, but Sheryl Eli (sp?) gets my vote for best hat!

  6. Susan Sinclair, on April 23rd, 2024 at 9:00 pm said:

    How does one get an invite to this event? I would love to be a part of this with all these beautiful women!

  7. Cynthia Moxley, on April 23rd, 2024 at 10:20 pm said:

    Melinda: We miss you! I know you love your place in West Tennessee, but a lot of East Tennesseans wish you were still here! Hugs!

    Monique: Agree! It’s kind of the start of spring!

    Carol: Agree! She had a great hat!

    Susan: You can click on the link to the Botanical Garden (in the first paragraph). You will be able to see how to follow them and get messages from them. Or, just check back to that website early next year and buy a ticket to this event. It’s a great deal!

  8. Allyn Purvis Schwartz, on April 24th, 2024 at 11:31 am said:

    Cynthia, as a committee member for 10 years, I ditto what Gay said! We get to relive the fun and splendor of all the hats through the Blue Streak!!Thank you!

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on April 24th, 2024 at 1:48 pm said:

    Allyn: Thanks! It’s an easy one to report on because everyone looks great and is having so much fun! You all do a terrific job. Thanks for doing it every year!

Leave a Reply