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Installment #43

March 24-27, 2011 – Tom and I loved the Sweet Potato Queens so much we had to go back for more! This particular year they changed things up a bit and introduced the first annual Zippity-Doo-Dah Parade and Festival held in the Fondren district of Jackson. Whenever people ask me what the Sweet Potato Queens is all about; well I have to admit, I find it kinda hard to explain. But after reminiscing and looking at old photos I think it really boils down to this… Music, Dancing, and just being Queenly! There is music non-stop from the time you arrive till the end of the Bathrobe Brunch. The ladies attending the weekend festivities don wigs, tiaras, a menagerie of costumes, and lots of sequin and rhinestones… one can't sparkle enough! Everyone, and I mean everyone, is HAPPY! Happy to be there, happy to be alive, happy to be with their best friends and those that may become best friends. It is a time to "play", as HRH Jill would say. It is a time to forget about your troubles, it is a time to renew your spirit. Can all of this be done with some music, dancing and a shiny tiara?... You betchya! I was a "virgin" the prior year at the Sweet Potato Queens weekend and I vowed I would bring someone new along with me the next year. Fittingly, I brought my friend Tammy. I gave her the Book of Love to read about 4 weeks before the event, she had recently suffered a great loss in her life and I thought this trip might just be the thing to temporarily ease her pain. She got about a quarter of the way through it, realized everyone in the book was named "Tammy", and called me to say she was coming along for the ride. But she wasn’t the only newbie… Lolo Betty stowed away in my luggage for this trip, too. Well I do declare; I think she had herself a grand ol' time, maybe more fun than me! Okay, that's probably not possible but I'm just sayin', she made her way around the weekend events and was even asked about by a few people - Who knew!? She got herself a tiara for the occasion and even a nightgown, slippers, and pearls for the Pearls & PJs Party. Thank God I saved her from the doom of an eBay sale just hours before we left for Hawaii, she's been more fun than a clown on fire!

1 - Here she is modeling my hat for the Big Hat Luncheon - I have to admit, it makes a really nice "big" hat for her.

2. "Awwww, Boss Queen was a pleasure to make your acquaintance!"

3. This is Scott, Lolo Betty's #1 fan. And the love of Lolo Betty's life.

4. Tom quickly worked his "hat" magic and transformed a plain-jane hat into a work of art for Virgin Queen Tammy.

5. Virgin Queen Tammy sitting with long-time attendee, Queen Mary Lou.

6. What a ham, even the waitstaff couldn't resist her charms.

7. Attempting a twirl on the stripper pole, but she couldn't stop staring at her reflection in it long enough to spin!

8. A kiss on the cheek from Lance Romance.

9. Yeah, yeah - it's not Johnny Depp, but once she had a cocktail she didn't know the difference!

10. On stage singing with Jewel Bass.

11. That life-size Barbie doll is named "Jamie" - Hmmmmm, wonder what I've gotta do to make her mine?

12. Jamie the Barbie doll and one of the Snow White Queens. I never figured out a way to get her home with me.

13. Music, Dancing, and just being Queenly!

14. Another year of absolute fun and joy. These times will always hold a fond place in my memories.

15. It was a fun but exhausting weekend with little sleep, now it's time for recuperating. Lolo Betty must look her best for her next adventure.

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