A Night to Remember

By Gretchen Eichenberg

Two debutantes and five junior debs to be presented at 82nd annual Hedonia Club Ball

Pictured: Doug Fitzjarrell, fitzjarrellphotography.com

Bottom row, left to right: Miss Makenzie Lynn Starling, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Alexander Starling; Miss Kendall Elise Moore, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Tanner Moore; Miss Hadley Camille Moore, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Tanner Moore. Top row, left to right: Miss Bella Marie Tonkin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Derek Kyle Tonkin; Miss Margaret Melinda Haskett, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Richard Haskett Jr./em>

Hedonia Club of Waco will host a traditional gala for its 82nd annual presentation ball at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 24, at Ridgewood Country Club.

“We’re looking forward to presenting our debutantes and junior debutantes this season,” said Judson Griffis, club president. “It’s a special time for friends and families to come together during the holiday season and participate in a long-standing tradition that is still celebrated after 82 years.”

Annika Yvonne Larson

Hedonia Club hosts a black-tie ball every November in which college-age debutantes are presented to their families, friends and club members — a time-honored tradition. This year the spotlight will be on two debutantes — Catherine Claire Holley and Annika Yvonne Larson — who will be presented to family and friends in their white gowns and kid gloves in the country club ballroom.

“I am looking forward to sharing the night with my dad,” Holley said. “He and I are very close, so I know Hedonia will be very meaningful for both of us. I am also very excited to share my family and hometown with my best friends from UT.”

Catherine Claire Holley

“The most meaningful part of this experience will be that I know this is something my late grandfather wanted to see me do,” Larson said. “It will be doing one last thing to make him proud of me. I know he will be there with me, smiling from heaven. Also, it will be fun to participate with one of my oldest and closest friends, Catherine. She always makes things fun, and we’re going to have a blast together.”

Junior debutantes include the following young ladies: Miss Margaret Melinda Haskett, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Richard Haskett Jr.; Miss Hadley Camille Moore and Miss Kendall Elise Moore, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. John Tanner Moore; Miss Makenzie Lynn Starling, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Alexander Starling; and Miss Bella Marie Tonkin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Derek Kyle Tonkin.

The 9- and 10-year-old girls will wear floor-length white dresses with short gloves and carry a small nosegay of roses as they curtsy to an adoring crowd. Brooks Patterson Braunstein, son of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Lee Braunstein, will escort the five girls. Dave Wild will perform music during the formal presentation. Later in the evening after the little girls have gone home, club members and their guests will dance to the music of the Time Machine Band.

Before the presentation, Griffis will host a president’s reception, honoring the debutantes and their families. And on Friday evening, November 23, a special patron dinner with wine pairings will be held at Milo All Day. Griffis said he and his wife, Haley, have been working with Milo chef Corey McEntyre and general manager Stuart Illing to create an unforgettable dinner experience.

“Haley puts her heart into anything that she commits to,” Griffis said. “She has an eye for perfection that few others have. With her network of friends, she can put on an incredible event.”

Debutante season coordinator Jennifer Heinz has been an integral part of the planning process, Griffis said.

“Jennifer is the most polished, detail-oriented person, quite the opposite of me, so we complement each other well,” he said. “We’d truly be lost without her.”

Griffis said it’s been an all-around good year for Hedonia Club.

“Membership recruitment is strong,” he said. “The ball is the part that everyone knows about, but in a way, my favorite part is the events throughout the year where we get together and cut up.”

Hedonia Club is comprised of a group of civic-minded men who annually present their college- age daughters as debutantes. The club was founded in 1937 with a charter membership of 200 and a mission “to enrich our community and bring families together through the preservation, tradition and elegance of presenting member daughters to society.”

The first officers were Charles Eubank, president; Walter G. Lacy Jr., vice president; and Frank L. Wilcox, secretary-treasurer. Dr. Carl Lovelace is credited with naming the club “Hedonia” after the Greek word meaning “pleasure — to live a happy, joyous life.”

This year’s club officers are Judson Palmer Griffis, president; Daniel Bosworth Ingham, vice president; Edward George Mazanec IV, secretary-treasurer; Charles Conrad Stewart, past president.