Queen Rogers to preside over Holly Ball
, 2014

Queen Rogers to preside over Holly Ball

Queen Elizabeth Lee Rogers will preside over festivities celebrating the 118th Holly Ball, the Northern Neck’s oldest traditional Yuletide event.

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The Holly Ball committee recently announced the names of 22 young ladies who will be presented at the 118th Holly Ball. From left are Northumberland County participants Taylor Nicole Childress, Hannah Elizabeth Rogers, Leanna Elisabeth Hall, Caitlyn Louise Cralle, Jessica Taylor Rew and Elizabeth Spotswood Hudnall.

The ball originated in 1895 and began operating as the fundraising arm of the Tidewater Foundation in the 1950s. The foundation anticipates the proceeds of the 2013 Holly Ball will have a far-reaching impact on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula communities, as it disperses funds to a diverse group of recipients, according to Holly Ball committee publicity chairman Patricia Gallagher.

Reigning queen Elizabeth Lee Rogers has chosen The Haven in Richmond County as her community service project for this season, said Gallagher. The Haven is a safe house for battered women and children and serves the entire Northern Neck. The organization has provided a wish list of supplies, and debutantes have included this information in their party invitations.

Queen Rogers is the 117th young lady to be honored. A student at Longwood University, she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Neale Rogers of Reedville.

She will act as the official hostess of the ball. The Rogers family has chosen Del. Margaret B. Ransone to serve as the orator of the 118th Holly Ball. The Rogers hosted a Queen’s Ball for the debutantes, their parents and dates, and special guests at Festival Halle.

The Holly Ball will be held at 7 p.m. December 28 at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club. The presentation of debutantes will begin at 8 p.m. with a grand processional and will be followed by an oratory and a figure of colonial origins performed by the debutantes and their escorts. At 9 p.m., guests pay tribute to former debutantes.

At 10 p.m., the new queen, chosen by all in attendance, will be crowned by Del. Ransone. Dancing to the Kings of Swing will continue to midnight.

The custom of crowning a Holly Ball queen originates from a flight of fancy at the first Holly Ball. John Armistead Palmer, host of the holiday dance, was so impressed by the conviviality of the company and the spirit of the season that he pinned a sprig of holly in the hair of one of the attendees, proclaiming, “ I crown thee, Queen Cora, Empress of the Holly Realm!”

The dance was such a success that it became an annual event each year featuring the coronation of a queen. In the early days of the Holly Ball, queens were gifted each year with ownership of a magnificent and old holly tree, once standing on Good Luck Road. While the tree still stood, newly crowned queens often visited the tree after the ball with their escorts to carve their initials. This beautiful tree succumbed to a storm in the 1950s, and modern queens commemorate the experience using less spectacular means.

The committee does not condone underage alcohol usage at the ball. The state law concerning minimum age limits for the consumption of alcohol will be enforced. All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

The Tidewater Foundation and committee are grateful to the community for its tremendous support and enthusiastic attendance and to the many businesses who quietly support the ball, making many gifts to the community possible, said Gallagher.

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