Gulfports Krewe of Venus celebrated its Nineteenth Annual Ball with a trip to the North Pacific Islands of Hawaii.
Discovered by Captain Cook in 1778, Hawaiian tradition and Polynesian legend claim the Hawaiian Islands were settled by natives of Tahiti and Bora Bora . Their culture, beliefs, gods, taboos and traditions blended with perfect weather, lush foliage and deep, cobalt blue water have brought us to Venus in Paradise.
Held in the West Harrison Civic Center on January 17, 2009, members and guests entered a Tropical Fantasy of theme decorated tables. The Stage was a colorful illusion of lighted Palm trees, tropical plants and a Tiki Hut that flanked two golden Thrones awaiting the arrival of the enchanted Royalty.
President Jeanette Chedotal began this years celebration with Keesler Air Force Honor Guard presentation of colors and the National Anthem and then turned the program over to the Master of Ceremonies, Mr. William Bill Seal. Mr. Seal welcomed everyone to the celebration and introduced the dedicated board members of the Krewe to the music, You Are the Woman. Serving as President, Jeanette Chedotal; Ball Captain, Eloise Gryder; Vice President, Linda Gary; Recording Secretary, Betty Gamez; Corresponding Secretary, Dixie Huch; Treasurer, Marie Eck; Historian, Diana Israel; Parliamentarian, Bonnie Owen; Hospitality, Betty Stafford and Edna Loflin; Publicity, JoAnn Munghia and Margaret Strnad; Decorations, Darlene Thurman and Immediate Past President, Darlene Owen.
Recalling the memories of Scarlett and the Old South of one year ago, Venus XVIII, Brenda Kraemer and her King, Norvin Kraemer, made their way to the stage with one final promenade. Queen Brenda was presented a bouquet of red roses on behalf of the Krewe by President, Jeanette Chedotal.
Representing the Love, Beauty and Fragrance of the Hawaiian Lei, was the first Maid, Margaret Ann Strnad of Tupelo and her Duke, Peyton Scoggins of Long Beach. The second Maid, representing the dance to honor gods and chiefs was Christine Maxwell, the Goddess of Hula and her Duke, Brad Haynes of Gulfport .The rare and valued queen of gems, the Black Pearl, was Maid Betty Gamez and her Duke, Roy Gamez of Pass Christian.
The giver of life, the Cobalt Blue Ocean, was represented by the fourth Maid, Darlene Thurman and her Duke, Sterling Moose Amos, II of Gulfport. Born of a flame of the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, was the Fifth Maid, Yvonne Bonnie Owen, the Goddess of Volcanic Fire, Pele of Biloxi and her Duke, Dr. Bruce Bergland of Gary, Indiana. The Power and Emotion of The Deep Love of the Aloha Spirit was aptly represented by the sixth Maid, Becky Robinson and her Duke Dr. Richard E. Dick Robinson of Pass Christian.
In anticipation of the Gathering of the Clouds of Heaven as her name implies, the stage curtains were closed momentarily, then opened to reveal, Her Royal Highness, Queen Keopuolani, Venus the Nineteenth, Darlene Owen and her King Kamehameha, Scott Owen both of Long Beach. Queen Darlene was resplendent in her original designer creation by Lillie Rubin. The gown was fashioned of solid white bugle beads, with silver sequined leaf pattern flowing down the front and circling her neckline. Her Majestys collar was of iridescent white and gold sequins appliquéd with The Krewe name in gold sequins. The Queens train was embellished with white and gold iridescent and appliquéd with the Queens Crown, a palm tree and the outline of the Island of Hawaii all in gold sequins. She carried a golden scepter adorned with the blossoms of Hawaii. The Kings matching cape of gold and white iridescent was appliquéd with the Kings crown and King Kamehameha in gold sequins. Queen Darlenes Crown was an authentic Hawaiian Haku Lei as was her Micronesian Ginger Lei. King Scotts traditional headpiece was Authentic Fern Haku Lei and his Royal Lei was of Thi Leaf with a twist of Tuberose. The Maids Leis were of fragrant Tuberose and the Dukes were Thi Leaf leis. All of the Hawaiian Leis and headpieces were flown in from Hawaii for the celebration in Paradise compliments of Venus XIX. Following the Royal toasts, the Court and assembly was entertained by Suzie Sneed and Cydney Hart who performed a variety of modern "Hula Auana.
Chosen as the Court dance was the music, Some Enchanted Evening. The fabulous Coast Band, Centre Stage, provided music for dancing until midnight. A continental breakfast was served at 11 p.m. Still photographer was Debbie Burkhalter, Programs were by Coast Printing Company and the video was by Studio 1 Productions.