CHEBEAGUE — The Queen of Hearts, dressed in a red and gold gown with large cards hanging from her was there, asking everyone for a curtsy. The March Hare, the Mad Hatter and a green caterpillar mingled in the crowd.

Alice in Wonderland had arrived on Chebeague Island, and it was time for high tea.

The plain community room of the Chebeague Island Hall was transformed on March 16. Streamers and balloons hung from the ceiling. An oversized painting of a grinning Cheshire cat looked out over the crowd of about 75 people.

The usual rows of tables were set for an extravagant tea party, with real napkins, china teapots and cups and tiny tea sandwiches. A table overflowed with cookies, another with sandwiches, another with pots of lobster bisque and other soups.  On the small stage, chocolate dripped down a fountain, ready for dipping and dessert.

This year’s Alice in Wonderland was sponsored by the Chebeague Island Library, its second annual late-winter party. Not a fundraiser, these are meant to be fun, community events for all ages. Last year’s was Harry Potter-themed.

“We wanted to do something to break up the winter without a big expense,” said Virginia Calder, president of the library board. All of the food and cookies were donated by the community. Board members and volunteers did everything to make it happen. Most of the decorating was done by Calder and her daughters Tracy and Tiffany Calder, who also made most of the decorations. 

In addition to the high tea, the event featured showings of two versions of Alice in Wonderland movies, one before and one after the meal.

Almost everyone in the room was dressed as some version of a character from “Alice.” Peter Rice appeared as the Mad Hatter. He played Snape in last year’s Harry Potter event. Rice said most of his duty this year involved walking around and greeting guests, including the many children. David Hill, dressed as the caterpillar, added that he also said, “And who are you?”

John Howard was decked out in a rabbit costume (with ears of course). “Someone once said I was always rushing around and that I’d be good for the part,” he explained of his role. 

Howard posted poems around the hall and also was the artist of the large, colorful paintings onstage. But, added Howard, this was, at heart, a community event.

“So many people pitched in to make it happen,” he said. 

Deb Bowman, the long-time director of the library, was also involved in organizing the event. “We had such a good time [at the Harry Potter event last year] and saw that the community had a good time,” she said. 

Tiffany Calder had the idea of making the theme of this year’s event Alice in Wonderland. Clearly, the theme didn’t just appeal to the children; many adults also grew up with Alice in Wonderland, in book or movie versions.

“All of us watched it when we were little,” said Virginia Calder.

Olivia Wentworth, 4, attending the event said she hadn’t seen an Alice in Wonderland movie before, but she thoroughly enjoyed it. Her favorite part of the party? “All the people that showed up.”