FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Many little girls love to serve tea, whether it's to all their favorite stuffed animals, their mother or an unwilling brother.

On Sunday, daughters and their mothers and grandmothers dressed up for the real thing at the Armed Services YMCA Mother/Daughter Tea and Fashion Show.

As guests walked into the main room where spring-colored decorated tables were lined up in rows, everyone received a gift. Mothers were given perfume while girls clutched tea sets, stuffed animals and other age-appropriate gifts, said Lynne Grates, ASYMCA executive director.

"This is our tenth year," said Grates who came up with the idea when friends of hers who owned a teashop catered the first ASYMCA tea party. After that, Grates moved the event to the AS YMCA building when the tea shop eventually closed. Although the event sells out every year, Grates likes to keep it at the ASYMCA building.

"We like to keep it very intimate and very special," she said. The whole point of the event is quality time with your daughters, Grates said.

The tea party moved into the tearoom where finger foods and a large selection of tea awaited them. Different flavors of tea from French vanilla to mango were in unique teapots shaped like cats, Snoopy's doghouse and a bookcase. "We've collected all of these throughout the years," said Melanie Spangler, ASYMCA human resources manager.

Many of the guests said this was their first tea party. Cindy Lamb took her daughter, Samantha, 5, for her first experience of drinking tea and sampling finger food. The wife of Staff Sgt. Eric Lamb, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division had also taken Samantha to her first FireAntz game, according to Samantha.

Three generations were also enjoying tea and snacks. Linda Skaggs, wife of Staff Sgt. Chad Skaggs, along with 16-month-old daughter, Layne and her mother, Mary Layne, from Marietta, Ga., thought it would be a great day for some girls' time. Layne also seemed entranced by Cookie, the Cape Fear Swampdogs mascot. Dressed in a short pink skirt, Cookie worked the crowd, hugging and posing for pictures.

"She's a big fan of our tea," said Grates.

Hailey Modest, 6, and her mother, Yadira, also enjoyed bonding at the tea and fashion show. "We're here to have a girls' day out," said Yadira.

After everyone was finished, the girls strutted their stuff and showed off their gowns during the fashion show. Girls from 16 months to 15 year olds walked around the room while proud mothers and sisters clapped their approval.

After the show, Families left with smiles on their faces.
For those who wish to go next year, get your tickets in advance, said Grates.
"We sell out very quickly," she said.