WESTFIELD — The Westfield Theater Group’s Kathi Palmer will be honored at the annual Garden Tea fundraiser Sept. 1 at Stanley Park after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Westfield Woman’s Club Vice President Ann Mello said that Palmer had been slated to be the honoree at last year’s fundraiser, so they gave her the honors this year instead.
“She is such a terrific, community minded person. I am thrilled that she was chosen,” said Mello, “Her reputation is far and wide.”
Mello said that the Theater Group has been very financially supportive of the Woman’s Club, of which the Theater Group is a division. Throughout the pandemic, however, the WTG was unable to put on any stage productions.
To make up for the lack of live productions, Palmer had taken to Westfield Community Programming’s Channel 15 and Youtube streams to provide some entertainment for the community. Throughout the pandemic, Palmer hosted “Kat Tales,” where she read and acted from theater scripts and books, which can be viewed still on the Youtube page.
“She needed recognition. Sometimes your hardest workers aren’t recognized,” said Mello.
Palmer said that she feels like a number of people in Westfield could have qualified for the award this year, but that she feels incredibly honored nonetheless.
“We really have a myriad of people who qualify for these types of recognitions. We have a huge base of volunteers,” said Palmer, “There are many who came before me who did just as much if not more.”
Palmer said that she tried to stay as busy as she could during the pandemic, including with “Kat Tales.” She said she was able to get back to work this summer with the Parks and Recreation Department in Westfield, and that she hopes upcoming Woman’s Club and Theater Group events will be able to take place despite the pandemic’s rebound.
Palmer will be involved with an upcoming haunted house event at the Westfield Athenaeum, the Ghost Tours in October, and she will continue co-hosting “Ken’s Den” on public access TV and WSKB radio.
The Westfield Theater Group also hopes to return to live performances soon, though Palmer said that they are keeping a close eye on the state of the pandemic. In the fall, there is a planned production of “Spontaneous Combustion and Morse Code.” In December, there will be a production of “She Loves Me.”
She said that there will be a reopening ceremony for the Woman’s Club in September, where they will show off the long-awaited handicap lift that was built using Community Preservation Act funds and money from the annual fundraiser.
The Garden Tea fundraiser will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 1, at the Stanley Park pavilion; tickets were sold in advance. Mello said that the funds raised from the event will go towards maintenance of the Woman’s Club building on Court Street.
The Garden Tea will feature sandwiches catered by Mark Tansey of Partners Restaurant & Catering in Feeding Hills, as well as homemade trifles from club members. Mello said that there is a bit of friendly competition to see who can make the best trifle each year. There will also be a fancy hat parade, as well as a raffle for several prizes.
The Garden Tea will also feature a performance by the jazz group Bad News Jazz Band and Orchestra.