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Celebrating Jane Austen's 200th birthday with the annual tea party in Sacramento

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Each year in December, there's a Jane Austen tea party celebrating the author's birthday. Yesterday, on Sunday, December 8, 2013, the Sacramento public library (main branch downtown) celebrated the 200th birthday of author, Jane Austen, actually born on December 16, 1775. For the library, this year celebrates the fourth annual Jane Austen birthday tea party, explains the December 9, 2013 Sacramento Bee staff article, "Dance, tea celebrate Austen." In the print version of the Sacramento Bee, the title, "A Sunday of Sense and Sensibility" explained the event tersely in six words. You might promote your own novel by throwing an annual birthday tea party for the main character in your novel.

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Looking for more Jane Austen events in Sacramento? See, "Events | Jasna Greater Sacramento - Jane Austen Society of Greater Sacramento. ASNA Greater Sacramento is a region of the Jane Austen Society of North America. The group meets in March, June and September to pursue further knowledge and enjoyment of Jane Austen’s life and works. Together, the participants partake in enriching events such as our meetings, and the annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea Celebration done by the Sacramento County Central Library Branch each December. Regular meetings include programs with talks given by local scholars and Austen specialists, readings, lively discussions, and refreshments. We invite you to join.

There also are planning meetings. The monthly planning meetings are open to the public. All members are encouraged to take part in planning and volunteering to help at the regular meetings/programs. Besides, the Sacramento groups that meet to discuss Jane Austen's books, there also are online continuing discussions on Jane Austen's novels and her characters, also see the site, "The Republic of Pemberley: Jane Austen." Or check out the Facebook national Jane Austen discussion group, "My Jane Austen Book Club." If you're looking to play cherades at an event, for inspiration and ideas, check out the site, "Charade Ideas."

Sacramento's Fourth Annual Jane Austen tea party on December 8, 2013 also offered old English country dancing and dance lessons

New this year were the dance lessons and old English country dancing. Yesterday at the tea party birthday and book author celebration for Jane Austen and her famous novels, guests learned to English country dance as they celebrated 200 years of Pride and Prejudice at the 4th annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea at the Sacramento Public Library on Sunday December 08, 2013 in Sacramento, CA. The lunch event included music performed by the Quite Carried Away musicians, a silent auction and dancing lessons from Kalia Kliban. Each year there's a similar party. But you have to make reservations ahead of time to attend.

Yesterday's luncheon event included desserts. Also, the library held a silent auction, and for the first time at a Jane Austen tea party celebrating her birthday each year, dance lessons were given. Guests formed a line and then grouped together in circles of four persons each, joined hands, and learned to country dance as they did in Jane Austen's day in the early 1800s in the countryside of England. In another line of dance, the dance lesson focused on joining hands by lifting an arm over the head and joining hands over your back with the person in back of you as each dance moved slowly in a long line in the wide aisle beside the food tables.

In fact, the Sacramento Bee article posted a Jane Austen quote on the front page of today's December 9, 2013 regional (Sacramento area) section, "To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love," as Austen explained in her novel.

The Jane Austen tea party of 2010: Reminiscing

Remembered best, though, by this author, is the Jane Austen tea party luncheon back in 2010. The free food served at Jane Austen's birthday tea party from 2 to 4 pm three years ago, back on December 12, 2010 featured delicious, exquisite donated food from some of Sacramento's finest restaurants. And all the eats and tea were free. That's right, free. Jane Austen's birthday actually falls on December 16th, but it was celebrated today, Sunday December 12, 2010. The following details below explain the 2010 Sacramento Public Library Jane Austen tea party:

Back in 2010, from the mouth-watering lemon bars donated by Fat's restaurants and catering to the delicious sandwiches (smoked salmon on top of a creamy spread over a crusty bread) sliced cucumbers and other 'finger' sandwiches, from Beth Sogaard, Catering, were piled high on each of the tables with full attendance in the public library's Galleria at 9th and 'I' Streets, downtown Sacramento. They made a great lunch with all those little sliced or roasted vegetables on top, some finger sandwiches with sliced meats and sprouts or green leafy vegetables. And the scones....they came from Hannibal's (petite scones). Delicious is the word for all the food.

More scones came from Classique Catering. And the classy Il Fornaio restaurant downtown donated those wonderful iced pumpkin cookies that tasted spicy with ginger and dried fruit. What else? The most surprising was the delicious fresh strawberries, large strawberries, dipped in either dark or white chocolate. Those wonderful chocolate-dipped strawberries were donated by the Berry Factory. And yes, all this food was free today. And finally, Friends of the Sacramento Public Library paid for this entire program.

For those of us who don't drink caffeine, the tea served also offered hot water and tea bags peppermint tea without caffeine (herbal tea). Also served were Earl Grey tea and jasmine green tea for those of us who drink regular tea. And with all those containers of hot water for tea, some brought their own tea bags and their own cups. That's the great planning of it all--to create a high tea that all of us would enjoy, with as many refills as we wanted. All the tables filled up early. After the food, the charades games began. The ambiance focused on the warm, friendly camaraderie and the realistic 1803-style costumes on those who wore them.

On sale also at tables were video DVDs of movies made from a variety of the Jane Austen novels. And then the book table sold dozens of books that varied from novels by Jane Austen to novels by other women writers, especially the British female writers.

What next as the 2010 event is remembered? Costumes were invited, and several people did show up in the costumes of 1800-1817 England. The costumes looked realistic of this neo-classic age of Jane Austen. Games played at the birthday party were cherades, a favorite of early 19th century tea parties.

The Jane Austen Birthday Party Tea celebrated her birthday which really was on December 16, 1775

The event began with a Harp performance by Kyra Pigford. Miss Pigford plays violin in the American River College Orchestra, harp for the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Silver Bow Quartet. Tea was served at 2:00 p.m. Then at 2:30 there was a welcome speech by Stephenee Borelli, Librarian, comments by David Bell, a scholar of Jane Austen's works, comments by Rivkah Sass, library director, and then the charades presentation by Mark Turner.

Mr. Turner has been collecting charades for many years and has given talks and charade contests at a number of Jane Austen National Association events, including the annual general meeting. He posts a charade each week on the "Republic of Pemberley" website. The tea concluded at 4:00 p.m. And the costumes were meticulously draped. In fact, on each plate were 'button's that you could pin on your clothing or tote bags with a slogan or quote referring to Jane Austen. Check out the sideshow of the event and costumes. Want more Jane Austen discussion? Check out the site, "The Republic of Pemberley: Jane Austen."

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