Nutcracker Tea brings out kids of all ages

Dec. 3—The Sugar Plum Fairy danced on a different stage Saturday.

Instead of across a stage, the Fairy danced at the Aiken County Historical Museum on Saturday during the 2022 Nutcracker Tea. This event, which first started in 2008, lets kids and adults get a sneak peak of the Aiken Civic Ballet’s upcoming production of “The Nutcracker.”

“We’ve changed it up over the past three years because it use to be buffet style, but now people are able to kind of come in, sit down and have their own plates ready for them. It kind of makes it a more intimate atmosphere and more special,” said Shannon Statkus, a Aiken Civic Ballet board member and one of the chairs for the Nutcracker Tea.

The attendees were treated to traditional tea food, including cucumber sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, cookies and more. Following tea, members of the ballet came out and performed portions of their dances from “The Nutcracker.”

Following the performances, the attendees were able to meet with the dancers for photos and autographs next to trees that had decorations inspired by the characters.

Ashley Ewing, a board member with Ballet, said what she enjoys most about the event is seeing all the kids in attendance.

“It’s a great way to see the kids light up when they see the dancers and they get a really close experience with the dancers as opposed to seeing them on stage and everything. This is a more personal event.”

Krissie and Ansley Smith were attending the event for the first time. Krissie wanted to come because she danced for over 20 years and Ansley is getting into dance.

“She has just started taking dance within the last two years and I’m trying to introduce her to everything I can dance-wise because I loved it so much (and) I want her to love it as much as me,” Smith said.

For Erin Joehnk, this is their third year at the Nutcracker Tea. She said her daughter, Heidi, dances ballet and loves “The Nutcracker.”

“To see the joy in her eyes that it brings, we couldn’t miss it,” Joehnk said.

“The Nutcracker” will be performed Dec. 16-18 at the USC Aiken Etherredge Center, 340 Scholar Loop, at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17, and 2 p.m. Dec. 18. To purchase tickets visit

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