Report on the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville AND the debut of “A Lady Bonnet Boutique” by Sharon Lathan

Report on the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville AND the debut of “A Lady Bonnet Boutique” by Sharon Lathan

Get ready for a long blog post, y’all!
I have SO much to talk about and share with a TON of photos
to highlight what I have been doing this past month.


To begin, I must refer to my last Austen Authors blog post, dated July 10:  Busy Bee Sharon has been Making Regency Bonnets!  If you missed that one, click on over for the background to this post and a bunch of photos. As the title suggests and as I explain in that post, I began my bonnet making project simply to create headwear for myself, my daughter Emily, and my daughter-in-law Serena. As often happens with such endeavors, I discovered a certain talent for bonnet creation and a hitherto unknown passion. But more on that in a moment. First, let me share our fun at the festival!


The Greater Louisville Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) – of which I am fortunate to be a member of – has presented and hosted this particular Jane Austen Festival for 10 years. In 2015 we put the Festival on hiatus due to our Region hosting the JASNA Annual General Meeting, but aside from that one year break, the Festival has grown to become the largest Austen-focused event in the United States (Not counting the AGM, of course). Twice we have set Guinness World Records in our costume-clad Promenade participation. This year the theme was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Persuasion, so naturally the navy was given the spotlight, as well as wonderful images of Colonel Wentworth all over the place!

Photo borrowed from His Majesty’s Ship Acasta website. Click image for many more photos from the Festival.


One of MANY Festival photos taken by the Kentucky Pioneer Times. Click image to see the rest.
A properly attired Naval officer. Who is he spying on? LOL! Photo by my husband Steve Lathan.

Usually my husband Steve – who is a professional photographer with a fabulous website of his own:  – spends the days snapping hundreds of photos. In fact, his website has several galleries dedicated to past Austen events, including the AGM and Louisville Festival. This year, however, as the photos below reveal, he was on puppy-duty taking care of our sweet miniature poodle Olivia Marjo while mom played. I actually took more photos than he did, which is very strange!

Sharon, husband Steve, and puppy Olivia


Steve and Olivia with two tough Naval gents!


I can’t state strongly enough how awesome this Festival is. Every year, not just this one. I’ve been lucky to attend four times now and am never disappointed. I HIGHLY recommend the event to anyone who loves Jane Austen! It is worth setting aside the time and money to attend, trust me. The theme for 2019 is Northanger Abbey and the dates have been set for July 12 to 14. Mark your calendars and start making plans now! In due time there will be more information, so visit the website: and join the JASNA Louisville Facebook Group to keep up on the news.

For me, this year was extra special because I was able to attend with my two daughters (neither of whom had ever attended before), my husband, and my son. Honestly, this was the BEST part for me. We did enjoy many of the events, such as the excellent Regency Style Show and Afternoon Tea, but having my family together was priceless. Here are a few photos–

Me with my daughter Emily wearing our fancy gowns for the Friday night “twilight shopping” hours. We are showing off our beautiful fans. I am wearing the bonnet I made especially for the gown and open robe I am wearing (both creations of Matti’s Millinery).


Me and Emily with my dear friend Stephanie.


On Saturday the whole family came for the entire day. This is me with my daughter Emily (left) and my son’s wife Serena (right). I am wearing a bonnet I’ve owned for years, but the bonnets worn by the girls were made by me specifically for the gowns they are wearing.


My son Kyle (he is 6’4″ tall!) with his beautiful wife Serena. Aren’t they a handsome couple? Next year Kyle wants to wear Regency attire, although I doubt the un-Regency beard will disappear!


Some kids never grow up! Kyle is SO like his father!


Tea Time Fun with my Daughters ~



Indeed, we had a marvelous time and created a wealth of special memories for our family. I am already excited for next year, and not only due to the possibility of another wonderful sharing experience with my kids. Another reason to anticipate the 2019 Festival is my new venture into creating bonnets. No, I have not slowed down these past weeks! Quite the opposite, in fact, and if I continue at the rate I am going, I may have my own emporium booth to sell my creations. Time will tell, but for the present I am keeping it online.

YES! I am here to announce that my shop on Etsy has officially opened!

*click to visit store


As of this moment, I have 25 items for sale. 17 of these items are bonnets or hats, and I also have reticules, gloves, and floral hairpieces. Take a look at some of the bonnets I have created and which YOU can buy–

Regency Green Gauze Hat
Regency Straw Hat with Greenery
Regency Era Green Stove Pipe Bonnet with a Veil



Regency Era Capote with Floral Embroidery
Regency Era Capote in Copper Satin
Feather Adorned Straw Regency Bonnet
Regency Straw Hat with White Bow
Regency Era Navy Blue Sun Bonnet
Regency Style Brocade, Black Rose Bonnet
Regency Straw Bonnet in Lavender
Regency Era Yellow Straw Bonnet
Regency Era Lacy Pink Bonnet
Regency Era Black Brim Straw Sun Hat
Regency Era Turquoise Sun Bonnet
Regency Era Teal Paisley Bonnet


I am VERY excited about this new endeavor. Making bonnets is super fun. It is a different type of creativity than writing, which I hope to continue as well when time allows.

Of course, as with anything business-like that requires sales to be successful, spreading the word so that customers come to my shop. Discovery is key! How can YOU help me? Glad you asked!

  1. Visit my store at: or search for me on Etsy if you lose the link. Check out my stock and purchase something if it strikes your fancy!
  2. When there, “favorite” my store for updates on new items when I add them.
  3. Use the handy social media links Etsy provides to share A Lady Bonnet Boutique on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  4. Feel free to use the badge I’ve created (to the right) to share far and wide with the link to my store.
  5. “Like” my new Facebook Page at:  and share on your Facebook. I have purchasing links to most of my products on the page’s shop, although I encourage ordering directly from Etsy as it is easier and has better shipping choices.


Thank you for allowing me to share my exciting news with y’all. I am continuing my quest to improve my skills and create a plethora of hat and bonnet styles. I have LOTS of ideas and a TON of supplies to do it! Watch the video on my shop home page to see what I have in my work area. I would love to hear your thoughts, especially your favorite style of bonnet or hat to wear. Ideas are welcome!


14 Responses to Report on the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville AND the debut of “A Lady Bonnet Boutique” by Sharon Lathan

  1. Thank You for this description of The Jane Austen Festival. The outfits are lovely. I felt like I was there,too.

  2. Wonderful post! I feel like I was there after seeing so many great pictures. AND your bonnets are wonderful! Is by any chance a new obsession? Maybe you should write a short story about the hats. That could be fun! Maybe the hat passes from sister to sister creating a new tale with each wearing. Now that might be fun. As if you don’t have enough to do. Thanks, Jen

  3. I loved this post. The hats were awesome and really went with the costumes. You family looked like they were having fun. As much as I love a good hat… I am a fan person. I was lusting after those beautiful fans. Nothing like a good fan. Blessings on your new endeavor. You may become so successful that you need to branch out and hire people to help you. What fun… a whole new cottage enterprise.

  4. The festival looks cool much fun! That was so nice you got to spend it with your kids and the puppy too! Your hats are so pretty! Great pics!

  5. Sharon, this is all so exciting! The festival looks like so much fun. I really have to go someday. I love that Olivia is in pictures. She needs a bonnet too 🙂

    Congratulations on your bonnets! They’re gorgeous!

    • LOL on Olivia! We were asked by several people if we were going to dress her “Regency”. Truth is, it never occurred to me! I’m not one to dress up dogs, but I may have to make an exception for her next year!

      You really must come to the Festival. It is tremendous fun. They always put so much work into it to make everything extraordinary.

  6. Enjoyed the bonnets, Sharon. My mother and I made hats back in the 50’s and 60’s such as the Jackie Kennedy pill box and also the big brim fancy hats for church. It was fun to reminisce. 🙂

    • Oh how cool is that! I have to admit, as much as I adore the Regency Era bonnets, I may branch out to other hat styles. Here in Kentucky the Derby hats are a HUGE thing (pun intended) and I love the pill box hats of the 50s. Also the outrageous Edwardian hats pique my interest. Time will tell!

  7. It looks like it was fun to have this gathering. It is better to see the clothes worn during those days with the bonnets than seeing it in a picture/drawing.Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks Chris. I am continually amazed at the amazing skill that goes into the costumes. Some folks really go all out! I can only dream of my skills growing to half that level. 🙂

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