Set your cap: Bonnets to be fashion feature of 150th fete in Mt. Angel

June 2009 Posted in Community

By Linda Whitmore

St. Mary’s Public School girls model bonnets to publicize Oregon’s Sesquicentennial festivities in Mt. Angel July 11.

Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce President Mary Grant got a bee in her bonnet and now she’s buzzing about town sharing her idea.

It started with planning for the community’s commemoration of Oregon’s Sesquicentennial. A Marion County-wide event known as the 150 Miles for 150 Years Relay will bring visitors to Mt. Angel, Scotts Mills and Silverton July 11.

Relay participants will gather about noon under the Glockenspiel for entertainment, sausages and birthday cake, sponsored by Oktoberfest and Marion County. As plans were formulating, Grant thought back to her childhood when the state celebrated its centennial. “It was exciting to be part of the 100th anniversary of Oregon,” she said. There were parades and special events honoring the pioneers. Grant’s mother made prairie dresses and bonnets for herself and her daughters to wear.

Now the state is celebrating again, and Grant thought, “Gee, it would be great if I could create the same kind of memory for other little girls and their mothers.”

Grant knew her late mother had so treasured her bonnet she had saved it. She called her sister, asking her to check an old family trunk. Sure enough, there is was. Grant said she thought it would be wonderful if Mt. Angel girls, their mothers and grandmothers wore bonnets to the town’s celebration.

She brought the idea to the Chamber of Commerce board, which endorsed it. And she was off and running.

She took a bonnet pattern to a friend, Debbie Grassman, Mt. Angel’s “master seamstress.” Grassman sewed eight bonnets and designed one that can just be glued together, for those who don’t sew. 

Grant brought the bonnets and instructions to St. Mary’s Public School, where fourth and fifth graders were studying the state’s history. There several of the girls modeled Grassman’s bonnets as the word was spread about wearing them to the summer celebration.

Grant also talked to Charlotte Grosjacques, administrator of the Mt. Angel Senior Center, asking if some of the women who sew for the shop might be interested in making bonnets “She said, ‘I would!’ and she’s been pumping them out – with lace and ruffles and bows.” Bonnets available at the Senior Center are $3. Grant has patterns for those who want to make their own. She can be reached at Mt. Angel’s Glockenspiel Restaurant.

Grant said there will be a fashion show at 2 p.m. July 11, at the Village Bandstand, for women and girls to show off their bonnets. She encouraged participants to wear prairie dresses, even dirndls, if they have them. “The whole goal is to have fun and to celebrate. We have a great reason to celebrate – our state’s celebrating 150 years!” she said.

Festivities will include a square dance demonstration, pioneer-style music playing from the Glockenspiel all day, “Happy Birthday” sung in English and German and plenty of food and drink available for purchase around town.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.