Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 17, 2013

Inside Valdosta’s decades-old masked ball

VALDOSTA — As Mystery Ball members walked into the Valdosta Country Club Friday evening, it seemed as if they were stepping foot directly into the heart of New Orleans.

The 2013 theme for the annual Mystery Ball, was “Mardi Gras.” Tables were decorated in purples, greens and golds, beads hung from the ceiling, and mannequins playfully dressed in elaborate masks greeted arrivals in the foyer of the country club.

The dining room tables were elegantly decorated with gorgeous silver containers filled with porcelain Mardi Gras jesters and gold-sequined crowns with baby’s breath.

As members gathered around the dance floor, the anticipation grew as they waited to see what the magical mystery women would be wearing this year.

For generations, the Mystery Club has held a ball in Valdosta. A ball where the women dress in masks and costumes then greet their husbands.

Friday, as the women of the Mystery Club lined up for their “big parade” onto the dance floor, excitement from the guests enchanted the room.

“It’s a lot of fun. They all come out in costumes. You can’t see their faces,” Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tom Gooding said. “They have masks on and come out and dance with their husbands.”

As the master of ceremonies Merrill Guice introduced them, the women strutted onto the dance floor, playing inflatable instruments just like a jazz band on Bourbon Street.

Each mystery woman wore Mardi Gras colors, wearing black slim-legged pants and a purple tunic, adorned with many assorted gold, purple and green Mardi Gras beads.

An emerald green sash was tied on their hips, as they wore an emerald green wig, along with large gold hoop earrings. They also displayed beautiful masks, decorated with theme-colored feathers.

“I’m having a great night, had a great meal. We’re invited guests and we come every year,” Mayor John Gayle said.

As they continued to dance with their parade of instruments, their introduction began to wind down and the mood became sentimental. The women of the Mystery Club searched for their husbands and started to share a romantic slow dance.

The couples danced to “You Are The Best thing” by Ray LaMontagne. Husband Hamilton Tillman enjoyed holding his wife and mystery woman close.

“It’s an old family tradition,” Tillman said. “My grandmother was a charter member.”

As the ladies took a break, they were reminded why they keep their identity hidden every year at the ball. It’s all part of the fun.

“We’re always excited, always have a lot of fun together,” one Mystery woman said. “We all help each other, put our wigs on together. It’s a tough job. I find myself smiling behind the mask, just because it’s so much fun.”

Fun that will continue next year as surely as it has continued in Valdosta for decades past.

Text Only
Local News
  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes increases millage rate

    For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

    July 24, 2014

  • dui memorial 1.jpg Memorial honors woman killed in DUI case

    More than a week after the man responsible for her death was sentenced to five years in jail, a memorial sign has been placed at the site where Sheila Foster-Lamb was hit and killed by an impaired driver while she was on her way to work.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • City of Valdosta holds two millage hearings today

    The City of Valdosta adopted its 2015 Fiscal Year budget on June 19.

    July 24, 2014

  • Quitman body identified

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has identified the body of a man found in Quitman Tuesday and have ruled his death a suicide.

    July 24, 2014

  • EOM July 2014.jpg Sgt. Jonathan Yeargin Honored as July 2014 Employee of the Month

    Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Jonathan Yeargin as the July 2014 Employee of the Month at the July 10 City Council meeting.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results