Area residents had the opportunity last week to show off their table setting skills at the annual ‘Tables with a Flair’ fundraiser. The event was hosted by the Granite Area Arts Council and was held at the Kilowatt Community Center last Thursday. Dinner was provided by The Rock Restaurant and was served by students from the YME National Honor Society.

Participants were tasked with creating a decorative table set-up, including elaborate centerpieces and matching napkins, plates, cups, and silverware. Each participant decided on a theme and built their design around that concept. This year, 19 tables were entered into the fundraiser.

The night saw a wide range of different themes, including ‘A Wedding Gift to My Parents,’ ‘It’s Fall at the Cottage,’ and ‘The Roaring Twenties.’ Each design was entirely unique, and reflected the tastes and collections of the various participants. Some ranged from modest and simple, while others were more extravagant. Many of the tables also had personal and familial connections to the participants.

One participant, Kay Steenson, explained how she found her Japanese Elkington china set at Super Valu. “My daughter, Kari, fell in love with them and asked us to buy her a set,” she explained. At the time, her daughter was a junior in high school, but after she got married and started a family, “this set of dishes was no longer her choice,” said Steenson. “This is how they became my set of dishes.” Steenson added that she donated the set to the Granite Area Arts Council as a silent auction item.

For the creator of ‘The Livin’ Is Easy’ table, Elaine Monson, the past played a prominent role in her design. She says that she bought her china set from antique shop. The set originated from a 1936 Spicer vacation club, the Hultgren Lodge on Green Lake. Monson said that she wanted to use her table design to recreate “life around Spicer and Green Lake in the 30s and 40s.”

She explained how guests would spend “most of the day swimming, diving from the big rock, and riding smooth driftwood logs. They were content to listen to the loons and play games by the light of the Aladdin lamp [before] starting all over again the next day.” She hopes that attendees got to “enjoy something from the past.”

While many were returning participants, for some, this was their first time. “When asked to set a table for this event, I almost said no, because I don’t own any china,” Sue Rollins reflected. “But when I thought about it, I remembered the blue and white stoneware I used for holidays when my children were growing up.” She said that her husband purchased the set from the old Granite Falls Sears before they were married. There was also a silent auction during the evening where attendees could bid on donated items such as paintings and china from the decorative tables. The GAAC also sponsored a regular auction featuring pastries and sweets provided by local residents. All donations go to the GAAC.