ADA — For more than 30 years, the Salvation Army Silver Tea has signaled the opening of the Christmas season in Ada.

Conducted by the Women’s Auxiliary, the tea is held annually on the first Friday in December in one of the city’s many elegant homes — lavishly decorated for the holidays by gracious hosts willing to open their doors for this worthwhile and highly popular event.

This year’s Tea will be held Friday, Dec. 5, in the beautiful new home of Kassie and Somerlyn Cothran. Located at 2150 East 18th Street, just east of Wintersmith Park, the striking architecture has excited interest since construction began.

Although the highlight of the tea is always the bountiful table filled with breads, cookies, candies, finger sandwiches and other “goodies” made by auxiliary members, the event has expanded over the years to include handmade crafts and accessories, elegant silk floral centerpieces and wreaths, baked goods and other items — all themed to the holiday season and available for purchase by tea attendees.

“Tea Day” begins at 10 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., and is in many ways a city-wide effort. Food classes from area schools create baked goods to sell; musicians from the community, public schools and local university provide entertainment throughout the day; and students work in shifts to help in any way they are needed. Many local crafters and expert cooks also donate their specialty items for sale each year, even though they are not members of the auxiliary

Parking and access to the host home is always a challenge. This year, free parking is available at the Wintersmith Pool parking lot on East 18th. The Ada Trolley will run continuous shifts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to deliver guests to the door and back to their cars.

Proceeds raised at the Silver Tea through craft and baked goods sales and donations return directly to Ada and its surrounding communities by providing food, toys and other benefits to those in need during the holiday season.

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