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
  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140412-TownHallMtg_2 copy 2.jpg Rep. Sharper holds town hall meeting

    Saturday morning, State Rep. Dexter Sharper held a town hall meeting at Crossing Jordan Baptist Church to meet with concerned citizens of Valdosta, share his feelings toward bills on the governor’s desk and to discuss the upcoming Let Us Make Man event.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140412-EasterEggHunt10 copy 2.jpg Kids have an egg-ceptional time

    The Therapeutic Division of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority held hosted the “Egg-ceptional” Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Children Saturday.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police_Car_2 2 copy 2.jpg Numbers show overall drop in crime in Valdosta

     Responding to what he believes is a public perception that crime is out of control, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress presented statistics to the city council this week demonstrating an overall decline in crime for more than a decade and said the perception may be due to his department’s openness with the media.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140410-Sewage001.jpg City sewage woes continue

    Calculating the total gallons of treated and untreated sewage that the City of Valdosta has spilled into the Withlacoochee River and its tributaries is difficult because it has been going on for over 25 to 30 years.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results