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
  • 140422-Dan_Keplinger003.jpg The Art of Determination

    Artist Dan Keplinger invests passion into his frenetic pieces. His line work teems with energy. An unexpected trait in the often technically precise medium of printmaking.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140422-RibbonCutting.jpg Learning center named in Horne’s honor

    Noting his lengthy legacy in educating the region's young people, Valdosta City Schools officially renamed the Pinevale Learning Center Tuesday in honor of the late Maceo A. Horne Jr.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose: Dismiss ‘Quitman 11’ case

    Following the second mistrial in the case of a Brooks County woman accused of voter fraud, a local civil rights leader has called for the issue to be dismissed, but prosecutors plan to seek prosecution for a third time.

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawsuit challenging Ga. gay marriage ban filed

    A gay rights group filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday challenging Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

    April 23, 2014

  • Commission denies City’s annexation request

    Lowndes County received an annexation request from the City of Hahira for five parcels of land that spanned approximately 66 acres, for the purpose of future development, and because the applicant sought city water and sewer.

    April 23, 2014

  • Confederate Memorial Day observed this weekend

    The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Valdosta Chapter 471, will observe Confederate Memorial Day, 10 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

    April 23, 2014

  • connell book review.jpg Literary Guild hears Fannie Flagg’s latest

    “Reading for fun is great, but learning while reading is super,” Sandra Connell told the Literary Guild at the April meeting.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Performance index tops Lowndes school board meeting

    Lowndes County Board of Education celebrated the results of the College and Career Readiness Performance Index scores during its regular session Monday night.

    April 23, 2014

  • N1401P14008C.TIF Sheriff hosts Prescription Take-Back Day

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office will collect unused medications this Saturday as a part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results