Where was Alice? Mad Hatter's "Wonderland" at Ballard Park

Siobhan Donovan & Kiki Finn

The children of Newport were invited to fall down Lewis Carroll's  fabled literary rabbit hole and discover that ever-elusive path to Wonderland (looking for the proverbial Alice in Wonderland?) at Ballard Park’s "Mad Hatter (Iced) Tea Party" in August. Through the efforts of Ballard Park's Executive Director Colleen McGrath and more than a dozen volunteers, the kids (and parents, too) were given a magical afternoon in the gorgeous setting of Ballard Park’s quarry and forest pathways.

The event started off with an "Alice in Wonderland"-themed scavenger hunt throughout the trails by the quarry. Giant cards hanging from trees led the way to the infamous Queen of Hearts (acted by Chelsea Cook), who demanded that scavengers throw ping pong balls into cups and buckets to achieve 20 points before they could move on to their next challenge and character. Kids were given a list to check off as they went through the maze, which asked them to collect objects, add up the prices of the Mad Hatter’s hats (played by Matthew Condon), blow six bubbles with Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bronwyn Barta & Maggie Gomes), and to paint one of the white roses red – among other activities!

Deborah Winthrop &granddaughter

Avery Ward

After the hunt, the children were rewarded with a tea party featuring a variety of iced teas, brightly colored cupcakes, and mini sandwiches. Newport Seen caught up with Carol Ballard (President of the Board) at one of the festively decorated tables, along with Peggy Richmond and Nancy Cushing. Deborah Winthrop looked the part in her own wonderful Mad Hatter costume as she played with granddaughter Avery, while Kiki Finn and Siobhan Donovan dazzled in flowered hats, feather boas, and colorful striped tights. Also attending were Debbie Grant, daughter Hilary Grant, and grandsons Lowther and Toby Grant-Valdez.


Colleen McGrath with nephews Stone

& Keegan Bidlack

Large wooden boards with face openings surrounded by painted hair and bodies gave children the chance to act out different characters from the story. There was also a hat-making station for decorating large paper bag hats with glitter, paint, sequins, and feathers. Proceeds from the event went to benefit Friends of Ballard Park. Perfect weather, incredible creativity, stunning natural scenery and nature-inspired decorations, as well as great effort and enthusiasm combined to create a truly magical afternoon.

For more information on Ballard Park and its ongoing activities, as well as how you can help to preserve this natural treasure, go to www.ballardpark.org

The scavenger hunt!

The Queen of Hearts challenges her

"subjects" to a game

Chelsea Cook as the Queen of Hearts

Eilish Finneran as the Cheshire Cat

Hillary Carr as Alice


Kristen Dupuis, Frank & Weller Littlefield,

Hillary Carr

Off into Wonderland!

Meghan O'Neill & Nicholas Edenbach

Matthew Condon as the Mad Hatter

Maria Dougherty with the Doormouse

Aleks Martins

Bronwyn Barta & Maggie Gones as

Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum


Joannah & Emerson Daley, Catie & Bay Benzak


The tea party!


Many different flavors of iced tea


Carol Ballard, Nancy Cushing, Peggy Richmond


Sophie Breitenbach & Holly Patterson


Krishma Sachayansrisakul, Nancy Speroni,

Lucy Marlowe


Debbie Grant, Lowther, Hilary,

and Toby Grant-Valdez

Lovely table decorations

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party?

Katie & Maya Hellendrung, Sara Gray,

Candace Jenkins, Mardie and Jane Corcoran

At the hat-making station

Acting the part

Cheshire Cat, Alice & the Red Queen!












Past Headlines

Jessica Hagen Gallery Heralds Spring with James Coe Exhibit

Brenda Nienh ... more »

Two Private Soirées in Elegant, Historic Newport Homes

Allison Vare ... more »

Fifth Annual Daffodillion a Blooming Success: Spring Fling a Sellout

“So when you see clouds upon the hill, there soon will be crowds ... more »




NEWPORT SEEN:  "Best Online Media Creation"


"Best Online Writing" 

                         -- CT Press club & National League of Press Women