Agriplex packs out for Wyoming soiree

Tables1: Wyoming first lady Jennie Gordon was on hand and had a table decorated in honor of her Wyoming Hunger Initiative. Some of the guests at her table were Trista Ostrom, Chief of Staff to First Lady Jennie Gordon and Chugwater’s Lynn Kirkbride who is on Gordon’s Hunger Initiative board. Tables2: Autumn Hale bought two tables and decorated them in a 1920s flapper style. Hale said that it was time that women really battled to honor and help propel one another forward. Tables3: This table had an author’s theme with books written by women authors. It honored the women who had the courage to write and to help change the world through their words.

WHEATLAND – There were 272 ladies, dressed in their finest “go-to-meeting” outfits and each, a part of the theme to honor women went forth at this year’s Tour of Tables.

This was the 21st annual Tour of Tables fundraiser held this year once again at the Platte County Agriplex Sunday at noon.

Doors opened at 11 a.m. and the parking lot was full by 11:30. The luncheon itself began at 12:30 p.m. The ticket price for the formal and quite proper affair was only $25 per person.

Since Jan. 21, 1869, the P.E.O. or Philanthropic Educational Organization has been dedicated to women helping women reach for the stars.

The organization has come a long way from that second story music room when the P.E.O. was founded.

At the P.E.O. headquarters, the open concentric circles sculpture represent the founders and the virtues of this “sisterhood” are listed as faith, love, purity, justice and truth.

The organization itself is a giving organization created and formed for the celebration and advancement of women through education by way of scholarships, grants, awards, loans and the stewardship of Cottey College.

According to their website, the goal is to motivate each other to achieve their highest aspirations.

The Tour of Tables organized by P.E.O. chapters “R” and “AW” will be held again this year at the Agriplex in Wheatland.

According to one of the organizers, Mary Shepard, when they first began tickets were sold for $10 each. In this day of inflation and the cost of education, the cost of the tickets have gone to $25. In addition to the cost of the tickets, participants could participate in one of the different raffles that were going on during the celebration and luncheon.

Murel Connolly who owns Murel’s Great Treasures located at 717 9th Street in Wheatland was another organizer and was fitting things together like a huge, elegant jigsaw puzzle.

“The tables are all so beautiful this year,” Connolly said. “I really like the two tables with the flappers. And Autumn dressed up like a flapper… I mean… why not!”

In addition to the almost 300 people that paid, there were 29 tables – all set up with a different theme all to support women in education and furthering themselves.

It resembles a fine tea in a fancy castle where people would come and share their interests. Each table not only has a theme, but a history of why the table is decorated as it is. In past years, there were reading themes to Christmas themes with one of the favorites this year put together by Autumn Hale who paid for and decorated two tables. One was black and one was white décor and the theme was “flappers” paying honor to the women of the 1920s. The tables each had an exotic feather plume bouquet, one in white and the other table in black and Hale was dressed in a flapper era dress and jewelry as she honored people to her table.

“I guess what inspired me were the 1920s flapper girls were all about women’s freedom and women helping women better themselves,” said Hale.

In 2021 year there was also a table titled “Governor’s Residence Foundation” which featured special guest designer and First Lady Jennie Gordon. This year the first lady and her staff and chosen guests were back to honor the first lady’s Hunger Initiative. The table was designed by the Governor’s mansion’s new chef, Tate Bauman in cooperation with the first lady. Bauman came on staff in July of this year. The fine china that was on the table was specially designed for the Hunger Initiative.

“The Wyoming Hunger Initiative inspired me to design this,” Bauman said. “The table was set and based all upon their colors of turquois and orange. We designed the centerpiece with blue hydrangeas and white accents.”

Gordon who has done so much to help eradicate hunger in Wyoming said that her childhood played a big part in her inspirations.

“Coming from a large family, my parents always said that education really levels the playing field,” Gordon said. “I admire you all for doing that and to help those who need it and to get the education they need.”

The luncheon was a type of potluck salad and dessert buffet where each member is encouraged to bring two of their best salads or desserts.

Six of the P.E.O. educational projects that money is raised for are: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, International Peace Scholarship, Program for Continuing Education, Scholar Awards, STAR scholarship, Cottey College and the Wyoming State Scholarship funds.

For further information regarding any of these educational opportunities for women, you may visit www.peointernational.org or call (307) 331-4140 or (307) 322-3967.

Tables1: Wyoming first lady Jennie Gordon was on hand and had a table decorated in honor of her Wyoming Hunger Initiative. Some of the guests at her table were Trista Ostrom, Chief of Staff to First Lady Jennie Gordon and Chugwater’s Lynn Kirkbride who is on Gordon’s Hunger Initiative board. Tables2: Autumn Hale bought two tables and decorated them in a 1920s flapper style. Hale said that it was time that women really battled to honor and help propel one another forward. Tables3: This table had an author’s theme with books written by women authors. It honored the women who had the courage to write and to help change the world through their words.


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