Children not only have the opportunity to see the Sugar Plum Fairy gracefully dance upon the stage later this month, but they'll be able to actually meet her this Saturday.
The Aiken Civic Ballet's fourth annual Nutcracker Tea will take place at the Aiken County Historical Museum, which is already decorated for the event. The tea is hosted by Sissy Brodie and Helen Kelley.
“Making memories and making new memories – that's what it's all about,” Brodie said in between bustling about the museum as she and several others transformed Banksia into a Christmas wonderland on Tuesday.
The event encourages local children to get in their Sunday best, enjoy tea and finger foods on silver and crystal and enjoy a sort of living version of a holiday classic. Dancers from the event will be there in costume which brings much delight to the children, Brodie said.
The event will also have around 100 nutcrackers on display. Mae Beth Thompson is sharing part of her collection of nutcrackers with the organizers of the tea. From the traditional soldier to a Kermit the Frog nutcracker, the museum will have a wide variety of these wooden figures for attendees to enjoy.
Thompson said she has around 350 nutcrackers and she got her first one in Switzerland in 1979 which is currently sitting in the large Christmas tree displayed at the museum. She said she has nutcrackers for every holiday and season – from ghouls to Santas and cowboys to gladiators.
Thompson said she's glad to be a part of the tea and she adores the annual ballet.
“I think it's a fantastic thing that we actually have a production of “The Nutcracker” every year,” Thompson said. “This particular production has a continual following and it's great that the kids are involved.”
Philly Sorenson, board member of the Aiken Civic Ballet, said the tea is a wonderful event that brings happiness to the local youth and sparks the holiday spirit within them.
“This event has become a tradition for our children,” Sorenson said. “It's celebrating the beauty of dance and the magic of the Christmas season. It's beautiful to see the joy in their eyes.”
Brodie added that it's a unique experience in which many children may never get to partake. She thanks everyone who has helped with an event that is near and dear to her heart.
“It's not any one person,” Brodie said. “It takes a village to do this.”
This year, the show, which will be held Dec. 7 through 9, is dedicated to Carl Crosby, a well-known local dancer and founder of the Aiken Civic Ballet who passed away earlier this year. A display is currently up at the museum where the tea will be held.
The tea will be held at the museum located at 433 Newberry St. S.W. in Aiken on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available at Unique Expressions and 3 Monkeys. Adults will be admitted for $10 and children's tickets are $5.