You don't have to be mad to attend the 20th annual Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Castlewood Country Club each spring; you just have to enjoy a good spread and a lively speaker -- and want to support the programs of Assistance League of Amador Valley.
Tickets just went on sale for this year's tea, which will feature sandwiches, cakes and award-winning speaker Margaret Zhao. She is the author of "Really Enough: A True Story of Tyranny, Courage and Comedy," which won the Sharp Writ Book Awards Best Biography Memoir for 2012. Zhao will share the story of her struggles for survival and freedom under Chairman Mao and her culture shock coming to America.
This year's tea will begin at noon on April 11, and festivities will include baskets for drawings, "lucky" teacups, a hat contest, a silent auction and a no-host bar.
The tea benefits the philanthropic programs of the Assistance League of Amador Valley, which include:
* In 2014, in collaboration with Kohl's, it supported 370 valley youngsters through its "Clothing the Children" program.
* It provides assault survivor kits and birthday bags for Tri-Valley Haven clients.
* It helps seniors at the Pleasanton Senior Center and at the Pleasanton Skilled Nursing Home.
* It gifts 700 books to school-age children each year, and members individually tutor youths in reading and support Horizon High School.
* Its volunteers offer eye exams through the "Screening Eyes Early" program for preschoolers.
Tickets for the tea are $50, available until March 31. Attendance is limited to 300 guests. Call 846-8490.