As the coordinator of Boston’s 1st annual Big Hat Brunch, Cheryl Crawford seemingly has her hands full. From appointing vendors to selecting the catering to booking speakers, Crawford plays a vital part in every single detail of the historic event. But looking ahead to this particular Saturday afternoon, March 28, nervousness succumbs to excitement as she whimsically recalls how the brunch actually came together.
“This is a joint event with Women in NAACP and O.E.S (Order of the Eastern Star). A bunch of us were just sitting around talking about having a gown swap so we could get rid of some dresses. Of course, the gowns not swapped would be donated to young women through Belle of the Ball or a similar program. Then the idea of the swap just took on legs of its own. March is Women’s History Month and although the Big Hat Brunch is at the tail end of March, it’s still a great chance for women to celebrate women.”
Crawford becomes even more jovial when delving into the specifics of the event. “It is much more than a brunch. We have over 20 vendors—and there’s a waitlist for it. There will be art exhibits, book signings, various speakers, photographers on site. I’ve envisioned the brunch as a Cirque du Soleil of sorts—we want different activities in every part of the room.”
When pressed about why young people should care and support events like these, she becomes unexpectedly emotional. “We just don’t do enough for our youth. We need to seize every opportunity to help and heal each other. We always hear about the bad things in our community, but what about the good things?” She pauses with the weight of that statement heavy on her shoulders before quickly regaining her train of thought. “This is also an intergenerational networking event, where young girls can meet legends in our community. Ticket sales are going pretty well, we’ve gotten a favorable response. It really has been a team effort.”
Local poet Ashley Rose Salomon is set to perform and councilwoman Ayanna Pressley has been tapped as the keynote speaker to discuss the importance of civic engagement. Lecturers are scheduled for every hour during the brunch, with Crawford stepping up as emcee. With such a packed event on the horizon, her excitement about the Big Hat Brunch once again becomes palpable as our interview comes to a close. “I hope a lot of women—young and old—help us have a very successful brunch so we have something to look forward to in the years to come.”
1st Annual Big Hat Brunch, Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., $25 donation