Northwest NEWS

January 29,2001

Features

Tia! teddy bears and tea

* by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Tia!, an award-winning recording artist, speaks with a light bounce to her voice like colored balloons floating in the breeze on a summer morning. In a phone conversation, she states in a happy, light-as-air tone that her name is always spelled with an exclamation point. It soon becomes clear why this entertainer captivates children. As Tia! talks about her career over the phone lines, she breaks into song. As she sings, she imitates motor sounds in between words. Rs roll off her tongue and the word "love" in the song sounds more like "love-rrrrrr." It's enough to crack kids up with laughter, and adults too.
   Tia! will bring her fun show for kids to the 5th Annual Teddy Bear Tea. The event is for kids ages 3 to 8 and will be held in the Bothell High School Cafeteria on Saturday, Feb.10.
   Accompanied by adults, the children will bring their teddy bears for a time of crafts, stories and, of course, tea. Although moms will have the choice of "real" tea or coffee, the children's version of tea is actually apple juice.
   In celebration of Valentine's Day, the tables will be adorned in red, white and pink tablecloths. Some children will dress their bears in fancy outfits.
   The girls will dress up too, some in frilly dresses. The boys are outfitted in suits and ties.
   But if the dapper look sounds a little too painful for the boys, there's lots to make them forget their spiffy duds. They will be too busy preparing heart-shaped jelly sandwiches and decorating picture frames with beads and lace. The frames will be a perfect Valentine gift for their moms since the children will have their photo taken with their bear and their mom or dad at the tea.
   But the highlight will be Tia! It's uncertain if she'll appear in feathers as she sometimes does, but it is definite that she'll sing songs children love, such as "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" and "Skinamarink."
   "The kids get up and move and groove with me," Tia! says remembering past Teddy Bear Teas.
   Her CD "Dino-Stew Zoo" won the Gold Parents' Choice Award and can be checked out at the library or found at local book stores. Her newest CD "Tia's Quiet Time Treasures" will be on sale at the tea.
   "I'm an edu-tainer," Tia! says, suggesting that her show has learning integrated into the merriment.
   Pat Parkhurst, Bothell Parks and Recreation Superintendent, explains that the Teddy Bear Tea is a party.
   She says it's a time for parents and children to spend quality time together.
   "The purpose is to allow parents not to worry about the details," says Parkhurst.
   The event is always scheduled the week before Valentine's Day and it tends to be moms and daughters who come for tea. But boys are welcome and so are former teachers. Parkhurst recalls one year when a group of 8-year-olds invited their teacher from the year before to attend the tea. The girls were celebrating a birthday and wanted their teacher to join them.
   The Teddy Bear Tea begins at 10 a.m. and will last until noon.
   The cost is $6 per person and registration is required by Feb. 2. Call (425) 486-7430.