MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - The Deacon Andrew Hetfield House was transformed into Highclere Castle on Friday evening, as fans of Downton Abbey dined on sumptuous courses prepared and served by members of the Mountainside Restoration Committee.
This year’s annual themed dinner fundraiser was inspired by the popular television series, which to the delight of their audience, featured a generous portion of antics, many of which centered around the cooking and serving of elaborate meals.
At the door of “Hetfield Manor,” Mountainside residents “Lady Diane” and husband “Lord Jamie” Kontra greeted nearly twenty guests most of whom dressed for the occasion in Edwardian-era fashion. The event attracted residents from the Borough, as well as Westfield, Cranford, Summit, and two from as far away as Brooklyn, NY.
The local volunteers who cheerfully played out their respective roles as butlers and kitchen maids included Jason Pastore, George Urban, Jim Toner, Scott Daniels, Sandy Vandermeer, Carol Goggi, Carol Clark, Ethel Ward, and Donna Klein. Alice Cowell and Kathy McGlew did double duty, helping in the kitchen and taking part in the festivities, which also included a Downton Abbey trivia contest.
Many of the volunteers went so far as to loan white table cloths, candelabras, fine china, crystal and sterling silverware to ensure the place settings were authentic. According to Kathy McGlew, several dishes on the menu were from the Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (currently free on Kindle), and the blog downtonabbeycooks.com.
While the familiar theme song ("Did I Make The Most of Loving You?") played softly in the background throughout the night, the staff ensured the entire program ran like clockwork. And keeping true to the series, if there were mishaps or a frenzy in the kitchen, not one of the guests was made aware of any.
Carol Goggi noted that proceeds from the event will fund improvements for Mountainside's newest historic property, The Levi Cory House, currently still under renovation.