By Matt Clevenger
For the Miami Valley Today
TROY — A local tradition returns this week as the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center presents the annual Mrs. Hayner’s Birthday Tea on Thursday, April 28, and Sunday, May 1.
“We do generally the same program, just on two different days because there’s such a demand that we need to do it twice,” exhibit coordinator Leona Sargent said. “Thursday’s tea is totally full; the Sunday, May, 1 tea only has a couple of spots left.”
The Birthday Tea events will include live entertainment in the Hayner-Cultural Center ballroom, and catered refreshments will be served along with Blackberry Sage tea. “When people arrive, they are given their table assignment, then everyone goes up to the ballroom,” Sargent said. “They’ll do a concert for about 30-40 minutes, then everybody will come down to the first and second floors. They’ll find their tables, and they will enjoy Blackberry Sage tea that we get from the Republic of Tea and a plate of refreshments by Starry Dreams catering.”
“This year, our entertainment is a group called F.O.G.G.,” Sargent said. “It stands for Freakin’ Old Guitar Guys.”
The Birthday Tea will start at 2 p.m. on both days; tickets are $20 per person, and reservations are required. Reservations can be made in person at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center or online at www.troyhayner.org, and patrons can also ask to be put on a waiting list if both days are full.
The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center has hosted the annual Birthday Tea event for several decades, Sargent said, although no one knows for sure exactly how long the event has been running. “I don’t know when the first year was that they did it,” Sargent said.
Built in 1914, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center building on West Main Street was originally the home of Mary Jane Hayner, whose husband was part of the Hayner Distilling Company. Mrs. Hayner donated the building to the community when she passed away, and her will specified that the Romanesque mansion could be used as a library, a museum, or for other cultural or educational purposes.
The building was used as the city’s library for 33 years, and then in 1976, it was converted into a cultural and community center. The Birthday Tea event is intended as a way to honor Mrs. Hayner, and her decision to donate her home to the community.
“She loved to entertain,” Sargent said. “Her birthday month is April, so we just do it as close to her birthday as we possibly can.”
One of the cultural center’s most popular events, the annual Birthday Tea usually draws a crowd of approximately 150 guests each year. “I think for a lot of people it’s a tradition,” Sargent said, “and for the new people who come each year, it becomes a tradition, they have such a good time.”