OB Flowers Inspire Parties That Bring Smiles of Joy

by on May 1, 2023 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Kathy Blavatt

Ocean Beach loves to party. What better way to party than celebrate flowers?

Two floral parties that have become longtime O.B. traditions are the Ocean Beach Historical Society’s Wisteria Garden Party and the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club Hat Party.

 OBWC member inspired by flowers.

Happily, the year before Covid, the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club (OBWC) resurrected its ‘Hat Party.’

Last year after Covid, OBWC revived the fabulously popular event. They restored the party hat contests, which have gotten more elaborate with multiple themes, yet still have their nostalgic ‘Ode to Mae’ floral hat design category. This fun event is also an OBWC fundraiser.

OBWC Hat contest winners. (All photos by Kathy Blavatt unless otherwise noted.)

On April 6th, 2023, the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club held its hat event at O.B.’s Dirty Birds. This year’s hat contest had a category with a very spacey theme, ‘Hat encounters of the O.B. kind.’ And ‘Don their most stellar haberdashery’ to vie for the top spot in five categories: Most Original, Most OBcean, Most Nostalgic “Ode to Mae,” Most Out of This World, and Most Luminous.

Many years ago, I had a floral arranging business, so this flowery event is dear to my heart. Besides that, a few years ago, I was writing the book Ocean Beach Where Land and Water Meet. I searched the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club historic archives for my materials and came across a photograph I fell in love with. It was an image from the 1960 OBWC hat contest showing winner Mae Clark wearing glasses, a necklace, and her flower hat. That image of Mae encompasses the best of O.B. from her quirky pyramid of flowers hat and her proud fun-loving face.

The OBWC volunteers threw a great blooming party.

I gave an Ocean Beach, Where Land and Water Meet book presentation to the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club a few years ago. I shared a bit about the club’s annual hat contests history and showed the photograph of Mae in her winning tall flower hat. The group was fascinated by Mae and the idea took hold of restoring the OBWC hat party and contest. Helping bring back this joyous O.B. event was an unforeseen pleasure.

Next year the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary (founded on November 24, 1924). The OBWC is looking forward to its centennial hat party and fundraiser. It should be a blast!

In March, the Ocean Beach Historical Society had their Wisteria Garden Party/Fundraiser.

Billy Lee’s Swing Band was jamming!

Fabulous guest musicians included Claire Roberts (above) playing cello and singing Summertime.

Mark Lugo was styling his floral hat at the party, and O.B.’s beloved T.J. (Antonio Johnson) sang What a Wonderful World. Buddy T.J.’s dog had a dog-gone good time in between naps.

Host Susan James enjoyed seeing friends while partiers gobbled down snacks.

The Wisteria was at the beginning of its blooming this year, but the early blossoms were lovely. Donna’s purple hat and Eric’s flower hat match the flowers perfectly!

The event ended quickly as sprinkles of rain fell from the sky just as the party was winding down. Volunteers quickly packed up things as the guest left. Everyone seemed okay with it since this had been the trend during this stormy season.

Afterward, many of the guests said they had a great time. They had missed the Wisteria Party during the of couple of COVID years.

Bill and Pat are on the Ocean Beach Historical Society Board and John Noble is the owner of Coastal Sage. Photo by Justin Reed—

O.B.’s flower children are a bit grayer, but they still love a good party. They show the community is still grooving!

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