Time to don a funky chapeau, snack on homemade hors d'oeuvres and bid on a wide variety of gifts.

Time to don a funky chapeau, snack on homemade hors d'oeuvres and bid on a wide variety of gifts.

The fourth annual TEA 43206 -- formerly Tea 4 2: Two Hundred for Tea -- will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the German Village Guest House, 748 Jaeger St.

Tickets are $75 each and available at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.; online at germanvilllage.com; and the day of the event at the Guest House.

Founder and host Darci Congrove said those who attend help fund historic preservation activities in the neighborhood.

Attendance and receipts have grown steadily each of the past four years. The first year drew 135 people and brought in $10,000. Last year, 220 people attended the event, which drew in $25,000.

"I thought it would gain traction. I didn't think it would grow this fast," said Congrove, who throws the party with her husband, John Pribble.

One of the main attractions is the hat contest. Patrons wear hats ranging from the ridiculous to the magnificent.

"Some are wacky, most are beautiful," Congrove said.

New this year is a raffle featuring 20 bottles of wine, courtesy of the Guest House, and other smaller prizes. The silent auction returns this year with a bevy of select items, including a poolside brunch for 12, patio furniture, artwork, a walk-on role in a play from Actors' Theatre of Columbus and jewelry.

All money raised goes into the German Village Society's fund for historic preservation, which also accepts donations from other sources.

The GVS already has used some of the money on several projects. For example, the society was able to purchase software that allowed the organization to digitize scores of historic archives.

In the meantime, the GVS is sketching out a major sign program that will be designed to help tell the neighborhood's story. There will be a technological component, too, allowing visitors digital access to other sources of historical information.

Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the society, said the soiree is a party with a purpose.

"Who doesn't love a splendid garden party, complete with hats and cocktails?" she said. "But the truly splendid thing about TEA 43206 is that every dollar is spent on preservation projects for German Village.

"The biggie, just getting underway this summer, is the comprehensive signage project to help residents and visitors alike understand the history and vibrancy of the stories our bricks can tell.

"And signs contribute to preservation efforts, experts tell us, because without the signs, no one in a historic district will focus on preservation issues."