Sesquicentennial Ball celebrates Mason community pride

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Celeste Hude in her homemade gown

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

Entering the Sesquicentennial Ball at Mason’s fairground building was like stepping out of a time machine. Women in floor-length ball gowns danced while men in suits and top hats mingled. The Bayou River Band played old jazz tunes on the dance floor. Everything was elegant and nostalgic.

The Oct. 3 ball celebrated Mason’s 150th birthday. Rita Vogel, organizer of the event, said coordinating the gala was a “labor of love.”

“It’s really big, people coming together to make this happen like it happened 150 years ago,” said Vogel.

Vogel and the rest of the organizing committee weren’t the only ones to spend enormous amounts of time on the event. Many attendees, such as Celeste Hude, spent months on their costumes.

For Hude, a Victorian tailor at the Maple Street Mall, designing an elaborate gown is not too out of the ordinary. Not only does she create clothing out of vintage textiles for her shop, she also designs costumes for civil war reenactments in which she participates. However, there was extra attention that went into fashioning her sesquicentennial dress.

“This dress took about two months,” Hude said, “ Everybody here put their own dresses together. Everyone contributed. It’s fun!”

Karen Meirndorf, who has lived in Mason her entire life, was inspired by her family history, specifically the turn of the 19th century, when putting together her costume. She even used pieces of her ancestors’. “This has got to be Grandma Ruth’s,” she said, admiring her antique jewelry.

Not only was the ball a showcase of elaborate costumes and a celebration of Mason pride, but a surprise also emerged toward the end of the event. Sue and Ken Sheffer, the oldest couple in Mason, planned to renew their vows at the gala after being married for nearly 67 years.

The ball celebrated the past as well as the present, and the love of the community. “Mason raised us,” said Vogel, “so it’s our time to raise Mason.”

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