History of the Ladies of Dilworth

Dilworth has always has been about neighbors and friendships. Long before there was a group known as the “Ladies of Dilworth”, there were women befriending women on every street and corner of our neighborhood. What started as an informal Christmas Cookie Exchange has morphed into the “Merry Ladies of Dilworth Holiday Party”.

Back in 1995, as Covenant Presbyterian Church was nearing completion of their Fellowship Hall (the building on the Dilworth Road side), the leadership of the church was challenged to reach out beyond the church membership to put the facility to good use.  With this goal in mind and a realization that the cookie exchange had outgrown most private Dilworth homes, a committee of five Dilworth women began the Annual Dilworth Ladies Christmas Party. For nine years, Covenant hosted this gathering while a handful of brave husbands became Santa’s helpers and served a scrumptious sit down dinner to Dilworth women. One of the many things that made this party special was that all women of Dilworth were invited. Each year, a non-profit agency was selected to receive gifts donated by the attending guests. Gifts were donated to Angel Prison Ministry, Crisis Assistance Ministry, The Family Center and Alexander Youth Network and others.

After nine years at Covenant, the party location shifted to The Morehead Inn. For three more years, ladies dined and toasted their Dilworth friends.  It was at The Morehead Inn that the Silent Auction truly began. What started in 1995 as a few door prizes expanded to a silent auction of items donated by Dilworth merchants and residents. Since 2008 when the DCA created the committee Dilworth Cares, fundraising for a specifically chosen charity has become a central focus of this gathering.

Wanting to infuse new (and younger) blood into this wonderful tradition, Nancy Kramer enlisted Missy Owen. Together these gals transitioned the party once again and 2006 marks the year that the party returned to a private home. For the next two years, the party was held in two homes on Dilworth Road. Then came two years at the lovely, historic Villalonga Alexander house which now is home to the Law Offices of Tin, Fulton, Walker & Owen. In 2011, the Dilworth Ladies Party moved around the corner to High Cotton Home Company on South Blvd. In 2009,  Arlene Fenlon began organizing the holiday and in 2011, the party had grown so large that it moved to High Cotton Home on South Boulevard. The 16th Annual Merry Ladies of Dilworth returns to High Cotton Home Company.