Having A ‘Ball’
Wednesday night’s Lucille “Ball” was an event fit for Jamestown’s queen of comedy and her loyal fans.
Held in the Crystal Ballroom at the Hotel Jamestown, the dance was the seventh in a lineup of Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy events held on Wednesday, and drew travelers from as far as California.
“I Love Lucy” character impersonators Diane Vincent and Rhonda Medina were there to guide the crowd in a celebration of Ball’s 103rd birthday, with Vincent as Lucy and Medina as Ethel.
Vincent has been performing at Lucy Fest for 15 years and never left character at the ball.
“I’ve been coming to my birthday celebration for years and years and every year it’s bigger and better and I just feel so loved,” she said. “Jamestown is the best in the world. I feel the love, right here in my hometown.”
Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucy-Desi Museum and Center for Comedy, which organizes the annual comedy festival, said the masquerade ball was a staple for years and is back by popular demand.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm for it. The costumes are fantastic and there are people here from all over the country,” she said.
Many of the outfits worn by attendees were elaborate re-creations of costumes from favorite episodes.
Ellen Waterway and Mary Roeloff of Michigan have been attending Lucy Fest events since 1999, and wore homemade ensembles from an episode named “The Publicity Agent,” which aired in the first season of the show.
In the episode, Lucy attempts to estimate the value of her jewelry collection and discovers it only amounts to $43.
Sandy and Matthew Clayton traveled from Peoria, Illinois, and wore an extravagant dragon design from an episode named “Lucy Goes To Scotland,” in which Lucy has a nightmare she will be eaten by a two-headed dragon.
Amanda and Julie Pikulski of Olean, and Jessica Coker of Palmdale, California, first met three years ago at Ball’s 100th birthday celebration and have been meeting up every year since.
Natalie Justinger traveled from Long Island for the first time to attend the comedy festival and wore a classic, blue Lucy dress with a red wig to match.
“I’ve been a Lucy fan for over 10 years,” she said, adding that her favorite episode is called “Equal Rights,” in which Lucy insists on paying for a dinner out with Ricky but doesn’t have enough money.
Sophie Sheahan and her younger siblings Rory and Vivienne were in town from Washington, D.C.
“We’ve been wanting to come for two years, and finally got the opportunity,” said Annie Sheahan, who brought them to town from Washington D.C. “We’re going to make a trip every year.”
When Vincent and Medina entered the room in full costume as Lucy and Ethel, the entire crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” and celebrated with cake and dancing.
Ten events are scheduled for today in conjunction with the comedy festival.
For a complete list of events through Sunday, visit www.lucycomedyfest.com.