Royal Wedding Hat Fever Hits Los Gatos

The popular Kate Middleton 'fascinator' hair piece is the most popular.

Friday's highly anticipated royal wedding between Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton is benefitting local hat seller , which is selling the head coverings faster than hot cakes.

"We can't even keep the hats in here ... they're flying out of the store," said a happy Cindy Schneider, the manager of Los Gatos Black Cat Hats and Bags Thursday afternoon.

The biggest seller has been the so-called "fascinator" hat that Middleton wears, Schneider said.

"A lot of people in England are wearing them, but especially Kate," Schneider explained of the small headband or comb that's often decorated with feathers, rhine stones and flowers. "They're small little top hats ... we've had several shipments of those and they're really, really popular."

On Friday, all Black Cat Hats and Bags employees will also dress up like Queen Elizabeth donning pearls, hats and fancy clothing. Schneider said she may even dress up like Prince Charles.

The fascinator hat was featured on the Today Show Wednesday and on the Live with Regis and Kelly show Thursday morning, she said. 

While the business is not having a royal wedding viewing party, it's planning a viewing party for the Kentucky Derby May 7 on a large-screen television with Bill the Oyster Man in attendance and serving champagne to customers. 

Janet Dashiell, the store's owner, said the fascinators are popular because they're easy to wear and they give women instant glamour. "I've invited my 9-year-old niece and her grandmother, who's from Whales, for an all-night wedding viewing/slumber party." 

Marie Tallman, a spokeswoman for the, said she wasn't aware of any viewing parties in town businesses, but said many local British nationals  would probably attend San Jose's Almaden Valley Brittania Arms British Pub wedding viewing celebration scheduled for 2 a.m. Friday.

The restaurant is located at the southwest corner of Cherry Avenue and Almaden Expressway, one block north of Highway 85. in Almaden and will open at 2 a.m. Friday to view the wedding at Westminster Abbey in London with no commercial interruptions, according to its Web site. "We've had dozens of people come in that are having royal tea parties this weekend and some are having brunch wedding celebrations Friday," Dashiell said.

The British Consulate in San Francisco is hosting a party of its own Friday night—a royal ceremonial ball to celebrate the wedding as well as Queen Elizabeth's 85th birthday, a consulate spokeswoman told Bay City News Service.

The consulate is also hosting a breakfast Friday morning during which they will rebroadcast footage of the royal wedding and United Kingdom Consul General Julian Evans will provide opening remarks, spokeswoman Kate McNally said.

There are roughly 100,000 expatriates from the United Kingdom in the Bay Area and many of those live in San Francisco, McNally said.


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