The Fourth Annual Butterfly Tea will be held Sunday, May 18, in the Ashland Springs Hotel Ballroom and adjoining conservatory and garden. This unique fundraiser supports the Ashland Community Hospital Hospice program through attendance, donations and a theme basket raffle.

This year's Butterfly Tea will be held from — to 4 p.m., beginning with music performed by pianist Karli Krueger. There will be a no-host champagne bar and raffle in the conservatory and garden. Theme baskets will be filled with goodies such as quilting or knitting supplies, equipment for perfect martinis or margaritas, an Italian dinner or fashion accessories. Raffle tickets are $5 each or $50 per dozen, and the guests choose which baskets they hope to win at the end of the afternoon.

Before guests enjoy an afternoon tea in the ballroom, butterflies will be released in the garden in memory of departed patients. This year, attendees can purchase their own live butterfly to release for $15.

Author Ann Hood will be speaking about her novel, "The Knitting Circle," and her memoir, "Comfort: A Journey Through Grief." The protagonist in "The Knitting Circle" has lost her 5-year-old child and learns coping skills in a knitting circle, as well as life lessons about other people's stories. The memoir, released May 12, shares Hood's own experience losing a child. Both books revolve around artistic expression and social support as coping mechanisms to navigate through grief.

There will be silent auction items, including a framed original oil painting by local artist Sarah Burns; a visit from Hospice therapy pet Lu Lu, a ribbon shawl door prize donated by The Web*Sters and a butterfly quilt door prize handmade by Hospice social worker Goldye Wolf.

"The Butterfly Tea is the best party all year to take your girlfriends to," Jeannie Taylor, a sponsor of the 2007 event, said.

All donations from the tea go toward the support of the Ashland Community Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care programs.

Funds raised in previous years have paid for the Bereavement Library, available to all members of the community; the Richard Groves and Scott Eberle community lectures on the subjects of death, dying and grief; support and training of the Hospice Volunteer Force, consisting of 42 people who serve Hospice patients and families; and the annual Hospice Memorial Evening, held every November to offer ceremony and ritual to honor loved ones who have died.

Because the Butterfly Tea event is completely sponsored, the total price of a ticket is a donation. This year's primary sponsors are Marge Bernard and Barbara Dierks.

To buy tickets for $25, contact the Friends of ACH Hospice through the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation at 201-4014.