I am home exhausted and happy from a delightfully fun weekend with my fellow Berry Queens in Jackson, MS. for the Sweet Potato Queens Weekend. I am a Diva in the hierarchy of our membership in New Iberia. The Berry Queens (so named because the nickname for New Iberia is “The Berry”) have grown by leaps and bounds since I joined in its inaugural year, 2008. Now we are up to 100+ members. We were easily one of the largest groups at the SPQ weekend with 30 women.
On Friday, my friend Cathy and I dressed in black petticoats topped with golden tree skirts. (Cathy is so creatively clever.) We attended the Big Hat Brunch with hundreds of other women dressed in crazy costumes and big hats. After the brunch, we shopped around Fondren, an area in Jackson that has been revitalized as an arts community.
One of the blessings of this weekend was going to the lake. My parents live north of Jackson near a lake, so the first few nights we stayed there. We had time to visit some with Mom and Dad and enjoy the peacefulness of the lake, totally different from the very crazy active time with the Sweet Potato Queens.
Friday night, Cathy and I became a spectacle downtown in our matching wigs. The buses for some unknown reason did not run from the hotel, so not many queens appeared for the Bouffants concert. Everyone around wanted to take pictures with us. We are probably all over Facebook on strangers’ pages. Even the Bouffants themselves noticed us and called us up during one of their songs. We felt famous!
On Saturday, I joined my fellow Berry Queens as we represented New Iberia in the RAD Color Run for Blair Batson Hospital. Here are a few of us squeezing into a hotel bathroom to put strawberry tattoos on our cheeks. I’m the one in the tutu.
The run was so much fun. I walked, of course, but while I did, I got to know two of our new members (known as virgins to the Sweet Potato Queens). At the end, I was covered with color and feeling great. The day was a glorious 70 degrees.
Saturday night was the big Zippity Doo Dah parade. I walked the 5K route again, and this time I was wearing a strawberry dress, a wig with light-up noodles, and boots. This time there was a huge crowd to throw beads and strawberry Tootsie Rolls to. What a blast!
Jill Connor Brown is the brilliant woman who created this whole kingdom of Queens. She believes in the inner beauty of every woman. She closed the weekend with a touching speech at the Bathrobe Brunch. Here she honored Vietnam Veterans for whom the parade was held. She shared stories of her childhood and had us all in tears when she talked about her friend who had gone off to the Vietnam war. She spoke of forgiveness and the need in all of us to forgive, not for the other person, but for ourselves. Jill Connor Brown is a hero. I thank her for creating a time for having just plain fun for the sake of fun, and for empowering us to be beautiful, inside and out.