Red Hats have colorful fun

September 06, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

One chapter put together a singing group while another produced its own calendar of club members.

A Shepherdstown, W.Va., version of the Red Hat Society got under way in June, and the group treated itself to a local garden tour as its first function.

Whatever the activity, it seems there is a common bond in every Red Hat Society that is formed: a license to have fun.

"We only have one rule, and that's the way we dress," said Joyce Entremont, who heads a chapter of the Red Hat Society in Prince William County, Va.


The Red Hat Society began after a few women decided to approach middle age with "verve, humor and lan." Members of the club who are 50 years old and older are given the right to wear the "royal colors," which are red and purple.

Members younger than 50 just have to wait.

Until they reach the age milestone, they will have to wear the "diluted" colors of lavender and pink, Entremont said.

On Sunday, the growing Red Hat Society fever hit Charles Town Races & Slots.

About 125 members representing Red Hat Society chapters from Silver Spring, Md., to Martinsburg, W.Va., came to the track for their second annual Charles Town Races & Slots day.

The women dove into a feast of shrimp, salads and cake as part of the celebration.

Oh, and the outfits.

Entremont's wide-brimmed red hat was enhanced by a bushy gathering of bright red and purple feathers.

Her dress was covered in rhinestones, including a pin that read "Queen." Her watch stood out with its red and purple jewels.

She said people often ask if it is real.

"I will say, 'Sure, touch it,'" said Entremont, who helped organize Sunday's event.

Each chapter of the Red Hat Society has its own name, and there seems to be no limit there, either.

Entremont's chapter is called Hell's Belles. Where did that come from?

"My mom used to say that," Entremont said.

There is the Rowdy Rambling Rose chapter in Charles Town and the Scarlet Vixens, who hail from Shepherdstown.

"We're just having a blast," said Peggy Humphreys, who heads up the Shepherdstown group.

The Red Hat Society that Chris Leigh is involved with in Charles Town formed a singing group called the Redhatalines. There are about 20 singers in the group, and they perform at places like senior centers and hospitals, Leigh said.

Sandy Beahm is a Redhataline singer from Bunker Hill, W.Va.

A retired Veterans Affairs Medical Center employee, Beahm said she never joined many organizations. But she decided to give the Red Hat Society a try.

"Boy, am I glad I did," said Beahm, who now plays piano for some of the Redhataline performances.

Many Red Hat Society members have spent the first part of their lives taking care of other people, Entremont said.

"Now it's time to do for us," Entremont said. "We don't help anybody do anything. It's actually known as a disorganization (rather) than an organization."

For additional information on the Red Hat Society, visit the Red Hat Society Website

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