In Indiana the month of March means crocuses and daffodils, setting clocks forward, basketball championships . . . and Mad Hatter’s! This event has always been associated with Bloomington, but did you know that it originated in CIASCNA? Until the 1988/1989 development of the South Central area, Bloomington groups belonged to Central. Mad Hatter’s was Central’s first function to be held in Bloomington. This writer was lucky enough to be part of planning that event and to chair it’s meeting. We Bloomingtonians were so excited to host recovering folks from Indy, Anderson, Columbus, Terre Haute, and even out of state (people from Illinois crashed on my living room floor!). We were also pretty nervous about pulling it off, but a grand time was had by all. So grand that when Bloomington groups helped create South Central, and later Limestone, we did it again, and again, and . . .
The event has seen changes throughout the decades, one being its name. We were March Madness and Mad Hatter’s Dance until the NCAA copyrighted that first part; thus, we decided to err far to the side of caution. Sometimes there was live music, courtesy of the recovery band IOU, but now we play, well, digital media something or other?—go ask an under-50! Some added features are now common, such as a chili contest, T-shirts emblazoned with the Hatter from Alice, and a kids’ play area. We’ve booked various venues: the Fountain Square Ballroom, IBEW Hall, Twin Lakes, Karst Farm Park, Harmony School (at least 12 challenging steps up to its gym–yipes!), and Buddy Bill’s Bait Barn, to name a few. The 2019 function saw us back where it all began, First United Church.
Some aspects are always the same: costumes and hats enthusiastically encouraged, a pitch-in supper, at least one speaker, an auction, and a dance at the end for the bravest among us. And of course fun. And fellowship. And recovery!
—Lisa W., Limestone Area, with thanks to Jon F, Bob S, and Jerry B