The hats might change, but the tradition remains for Sequim's Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Going into its 13th year on Friday, Oct. 1, at Sequim Community Church, women of all ages will dine and sip while wearing creative and elegant hats, all to promote breast cancer awareness and early detection.
Co-organizer Jan Kummet said hats vary from stunning formal displays to hilarious creative hats.
"You will see everything - like a stuffed jet airplane to a breast prosthesis - on top of a hat. People tend to have a lot of fun with it."
The party started with a small luncheon in 1998.
Organizers wanted a special event for their friend Jan Chatfield, who was fighting breast cancer for the second time. Chatfield died nine months after the first event and now the tea is held in her honor.
A nine-woman committee begins party preparations in March for the event held each October to coincide with the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Co-organizer Kathy Mahnerd said they've raised more than $20,000.
The event didn't begin as a fundraiser but instead to promote breast cancer awareness and detection.
Organizers realized donations could make a lasting impression in the Sequim community.
"You can tell from the people who attend that it means a lot," Kummet said.
She got on board in 2009 after attending with her husband, Thomas Kummet, M.D., a medical oncologist who spoke in 2008.
"It feels good to do something practical while helping programs that can make a significant difference," she said.
Ticket sales benefit the Olympic Cancer Care Center and provide mammograms to low-income women through Planned Parenthood, which provides a silicon breast with lumps so women know what to feel for to detect possible malignancies.
A breast cancer survivor and cancer specialist speak at the tea.
This year, Roxanne Fryer, a Sequim breast cancer survivor, and Rena Zimmerman, M.D., a radiation oncologist for Olympic Medical Cancer Center, will speak and Amanda Bacon will sing.
Everyone is encouraged to wear a special hat because those at each table vote for their favorite and the winner receives the centerpiece.
Tables are set for parties of seven with a capacity of about 200.
Tickets are $30 and available through Jan Kummet at 477-4226.