Society Column: ‘Downton Abbey’ celebrated at the Palladium


The Downton Abbey event on Jan. 29 marked the first in a series of celebrations to benefit the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation, according to Director Ruth Nisenthal.

Jessica Fellowes, best-selling author of the companion books to the incredibly popular British television series “Downton Abbey,” was invited as a speaker for this first event. Fellowes, who is also the niece of Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer of the TV series, is intimately knowledgeable about the show’s background, setting, creation and characters. She shared many behind-the-scenes anecdotes with the audience, as she does in her popular books. She said she will begin her third book about the series when she finishes the current tour.

Before the main presentation, Fellowes joined guests in the Palladium’s VIP area, where she answered questions, posed for pictures and signed books for nearly two hours. The VIP party featured catering from Sullivan’s Steakhouse and a piano performance by Sally Applegate-Rodeman.

The party’s theme was Edwardian period dress and food in the manner of “Downton Abbey.” Character actors Samantha Hyde and Priscilla Ball dressed as maids and whimsically dusted everything – including guests! Models September Breshnahan and Nicole English emulated the look of the period’s aristocratic ladies, wearing diamonds provided by Tiffany & Co. and gowns from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Many partygoers dressed in Edwardian period attire, including Terry Coyle, Jeff and Tammy Butts, and 50-year Carmel residents George and Charlene Rupp. VIP guests included, among many others, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and wife Liz, Peter Reist, Brian and Ann Poindexter, Geri Fritsche, Jim and Joyce Winner, Terry and Carolyn Anker, Janet Waller, and Carole Ash.

Donations for the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation may be made by contacting Foundation Director Ruth Nisenthal at 814-3905 or


If you would like Current in Carmel to attend your party, gala or social function, please call Tonya Burton at 432-2451 to schedule your event. We would be happy to photograph guests and let our readers know about upcoming society events.


Tonya Burton is the Current’s social scene columnist. You may contact her at


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