The famous milliner Louise Green was known to have remarked, “Wearing a hat is like having a baby or a puppy; everyone stops to coo and talk about it.”

And indeed, there was a lot of cooing at the Middleburg Spring Races. Running around like a mad hatter (pun completely intended) I tried to photograph all the fabulous hats I could find. Large brimmed to turned up sinamays, fedoras, panamas, floppies, a few cowboys, tons of ball caps, and the ever popular fascinator, the kind of mini-hat that anyone can wear.

Barbara Sharp, Middleburg’s resident floral designer, hat designer and fashionista judged a very serious group of contenders in the hat contest. Among the crowd of ladies, one gentleman was attired in a wonderful shade of purple from head to toe, and a tall patent-heeled fellow in a green jacket and khaki pants with a matching green sinamay bonnet added to the colorful mix. 

Most elegant went to Natalie Fox, attired in a beautifully tailored cream dress and cream and black sinamay fascinator, and Susan Santarpia who took a more casual approach with a huge black sinamay with bow and feathers. Julie Baumgartner was awarded most creative, as she decorated a large cup and saucer with greenery and flowers. Creativity knows no bounds!

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