The Hat ladies of Johnstown say, “A woman isn’t fully dressed until she puts on a hat; then she becomes a lady.”

On April 30, at Homewood AMEZ Church “The Hat Ladies of Johnstown” were the centerpiece of the afternoon tea presented by the Senior Missionary Society. Marsha McDowell and Pat Holifield have been collecting, caring for and wearing hats for more than 20 years. With more than 500 hats in their collection, they are the quintessential experts on how, when and why the hat is a fashion essential. Their hat show is an education in “hattitude.” The ladies modeled more than 50 hats for an audience that was wearing some very fashionable hats as well.

LADIES OF THE SENIOR MISSIONARY—Debra Dennison, Twanda Dennis, Sheila Johnson, Shirlee Carter, Minnie Gardner, Onnie Peyton, Mary Pryor and Florence Reed. (Photo by Debbie Norrell)

The hat ladies say that at first they did the hat show for Black History Month, but due to weather constraints during that month they moved their presentation to the month of May, and due to the popularity of the performance you can find them presenting their historical hat show throughout the year.

Some of the hats they display were found in a barn, antique shop and some hats were dropped off on their doorsteps by neighbors who knew they would give the hats a good home. They modeled hats that belonged to their mothers and to some of the fashionistas from their hometown.

The lovely program was rounded out by Mary L. Pryor, welcome and the occasion; a scripture reading from Sheila Johnson; Minnie Gardner, prayer; and a musical selection from Arlene Dye. Closing remarks were delivered by Toni Phinisee, senior missionary president and Rev. Stanley Dennison. The tea pourers for the afternoon were Doris Strothers and yours truly.

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