Arts & Culture

The World’s Largest Seersucker Party

What happens when you give Southerners a good excuse to drink bourbon and sport their finest seersucker?

Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Chandler

What happens when you give Southerners a good excuse to drink bourbon and sport their finest seersucker? At last year’s Seriously Seersucker—a Franklin, Tennessee, party organized to benefit the town’s college of design—host Robert Hicks found the answer: they’ll appear in droves.

So the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South is doing it again this year: On August 27, Hicks will host the second annual Seriously Seersucker party on the campus of its beneficiary, O’More College of Design. A ticket and a puckered pastel cotton garment will score you a signature cocktail (a spin on an Old Fashioned with fresh peach nectar), Southern-style dinner catered by Franklin’s Cool Café, and a chance to win such silent auction items as a custom-made suit by New Orleans’ seersucker-suit pioneer, Haspel. Also on the party docket: Motown tunes from Atlanta’s Jimmy Church Band, and “just a heck of a lot of fun,” Hicks says.

Hicks is a staunch Franklin preservationist. He’s also long been an advocate for O’More, whose nineteenth-century Italianate-style administration building is listed on the national historic registry. Until last year, though, the school had no scholarship fund for its 200 students. The idea for the fundraiser came to Hicks last June 9—National Seersucker Day—and a Facebook poll confirmed his hunch that the theme would hold appeal. He pulled off the first gathering in six weeks and more than 300 guests arrived wearing the Southern staple.

Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Chandler

Hicks (third from left) and guests in front of O’More’s administration building at Seriously Seersucker 2015.

“Because O’More is a design school, some of the seersucker dresses last year were designed by students,” Hicks says. “That will happen again this year, but the real ‘plus’ is that I believe we can make claim to being the largest seersucker gathering on the planet.”

And just under the wire, too—since, come September, it’ll be time to hang up that suit until next spring.

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