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A celebration of ‘Equali-tea’

Tami LaPole Edmunds, owner of “Art in the Alley” will speak at the first sitting of the League of Women Voters “Equali-tea” on Saturday, March 15.

Dust off your favorite Downton Abbey-era hat, the League of Women Voters Duluth will put the kettle on and invite you to join them.

The nonpartisan political organization is hosting its sixth annual “Equali-Tea” celebration and fundraiser on March 15. A traditional tea served with savory sandwiches and sweets will hearken back to the founding years of the suffrage movement. This yearly event is in part a celebration of women’s suffrage.

“I don’t think we can ever forget the importance of gaining the right to vote,” said Nancy Bratrud, president of the league.

Bratrud says that her mother could remember a time when women didn’t have the right and encouraged her to always exercise her right.

“My mother became of age to vote just before the first election women could vote in. She told me ‘Don’t you ever, ever not vote.’ She was very serious about it,” Bratrud said.

In addition to the celebration, the league also focuses on a theme for discussion. This year the organization has lined up four local women entrepreneurs to share their stories and talk about women in business.

“Women doing their own thing is the other part of citizenship. Having the right to economic independence and equality is essential,” said Bratrud.

This year’s tea will have two sittings with different speakers at each. Featured from 10 - 11:30 a.m., seating will be Tami LaPole Edmunds of Art in the Alley and Rebecca Lindquist of Lindquist & Co. Featured at 12:30 -

2 p.m., seating - Mary Dragich of Duluth Preserving Co. and Pak Williams of Pak’s Green Corner.

Rebecca Lindquist knows a thing or two about gaining equality in the workplace.

“I’ve had to break some barriers. When I started the design, I was working in a largely male-dominated industry,” Lindquist said.

In fact, she was the first woman in Minnesota to be accredited as a certified kitchen designer. Then in 2002, Lindquist became the first woman in the state to become a certified master kitchen and bath designer which the highest level of professional accreditation.

She and her husband Robert have owned Lindquist & Co. since 1992.

Tami LaPole Edmunds knows a thing or two about doing her own thing. Edmunds says she worked for several different companies before starting her shop “Art in the Alley.”

“We all have a story and we all have struggles. I’ve had to deal with some very difficult times. But I hope to share how I’ve overcome circumstances,” Edmunds said.

Edmunds says one of the keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur is to give back to the community surrounding your business.

“I think that’s important as a woman to work and to be involved in the community. You need that to survive. And women seem to get that,” she said.

The tea is also fundraiser for the organization. Tickets are $25 each, which helps fund voter registration and education programs.

“We often hold candidate forums before elections and have to pay rent for the facilities we use so a lot of our funding goes to that,” Bratrud said.

The tea also offers an opportunity for women in the area to dress up and wear “fancy old style” hats that were popular around the beginning of the suffragette movement.

“These women saw hats as their symbol of femininity and woman power,” Bratrud said.

Plus they’re fun to wear, she said.

“When we were little, we all loved to play dress up and get all dolled up,” Bratrud said. “We don’t get the chance in the adult world to dress up like that.”

If you don’t own your own fancy Downton Abbey-inspired hat, you can rent or buy one at the event.

If you go

What: The LWV “Equali-tea”

Where: Duluth Woman’s Club, 2400 E. Superior St.

When: Two seatings: 10 - 11:30 a.m. and 12:30-2 p.m. Saturday, March 15.

Cost: $25 admission – Reserve tickets only.

RSVP: by Wednesday, March 12, call Sally at (218) 728-0711 or visit

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

(218) 720-4176