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Thank you for the great spread in LN for our Change Begins with Me exhibition opening. You have been wonderfully supportive and we couldn’t be more pleased with the impact. You are the best. (2/8/13 issue, p. 7)
From weeding out flower beds to brightening rooms with a fresh coat of paint, the Veiled Prophet Organization is doing what it can to make a difference in the community. Its Maids of Honor Project is a community service initiative that encourages girls and their families to participate in volunteer projects with local nonprofits before they are presented at the annual ball. We asked four young women who walked this year to share how they gave back.
When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast this fall, the Veiled Prophet (VP) Organization was ready to step up in any way it could. Joining forces with another agency, the VP quickly gathered a group of members to assist in filling several trucks with much-needed cleaning supplies, food and clothing destined for the damaged areas. “One of the Veiled Prophet’s strengths always has been the ability to pull together and manage large groups of volunteers to help those who have a specific need,” explains VP spokesman Tom Cooke.
Even though it was more than 50 years ago, Janice Hawk remembers her first night as a 6-year-old page at the Veiled Prophet Ball like it was yesterday.
Some details have changed through the years, including the attire—yesteryear’s conservative gowns with lengthy trains to today’s strapless, dresses with shorter trains—but the Veiled Prophet Ball still is a longstanding tradition for prominent local families.
The next generation of debutantes were invited to join the fun. The 41 junior maids will be presented at the 2021 Veiled Prophet Ball.
Look for even more glitz and glamour at this weekend's Veiled Prophet Ball. On the eve of one of the year's most anticipated high-society events, representatives from local designer dress boutiques say shimmery gowns will be front and center. “Glitz is very big this year,” notes Distinctions in Fashion co-owner Nancy Lehtman.
Elle Reardon practices lifting a train for the Veiled Prophet Ball
During this time of year, it is an LN tradition to salute local charities and nonprofit organizations that have commemorated milestone anniversaries in 2012. In celebration, we've asked a sampling of them to share some favorite memories, as well as even bigger future plans.
Just hours after the last float ventures down Market Street and the last booth closes on the Arch grounds, preparations for the next year’s Veiled Prophet Parade and Fair Saint Louis begin anew. The timeline is no exaggeration says Fair spokesperson Bob Schenk. “Planning starts all over again, from budgets to themes, etc. It really doesn’t stop.”
Finding that perfect dress for their daughter or son’s wedding can be a time-consuming task for many mothers. But Distinctions in Fashion can make the search a little easier. “It’s a place where women can come and feel comfortable, no matter what size they are, and how much money they want to spend, whether it’s $200, or $2,000,” says co-owner Nancy Lehtman.
Marylyn Simpson and Connie Simpson make last-minute alternations to a debutante�s dress before the Veiled Prophet ball.
The seventeen floats featured in the first Veiled Prophet parade were purchased for $8,000—a princely sum in 1878. And on the final float, thousands of spectators were introduced to the mysterious Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, as the torch-lit nighttime parade wound through the cobblestone streets of St. Louis.
For a Veiled Prophet debutante, the night of the ball is made that much more magical when she is wearing the perfect dress. From the color of the silk to the number of rhinestones sparkling on the fabric, every detail is important when a young woman debuts. “Our goal is to make each girl stand out and look as beautiful as possible,” says Marylyn Simpson, owner of R & M Designs, which made 15 custom dresses for this year’s ceremony.
While the glitz and glamour of the annual ball attracts most of the public’s attention each year, behind the scenes, the Veiled Prophet Organization works to have a positive impact on the St. Louis area. Through its community service initiative, maids of honor and their families give back by volunteering with various projects around the city. But today’s debutantes don’t just stop there. We learned how three young women who walked in this year’s ball are helping others throughout the community, across the country and around the world.
Since 1878, St. Louisans have lined up to watch the majesty of the Veiled Prophet parade. And if you watched the Cardinals' World Series parade, you also were witnessing the work of the organization known as the Mysterious Order of the Veiled Prophet, or VP.
My name is Mary Marjorie Putney Fast, the fifth child of Elmore and Lela Putney. No. 15 Washington Terrace became my home when I was born on my mother’s birthday, March 2, 1943. We moved when I was 9 years old to 19 Huntleigh Downs, but here are a few of my memories of that gracious home:
While it’s highly unlikely, there were a few weeks this year when it seemed like our St. Louis winter would last until June. But spring is definitely on the way and that calls for a celebration. What better way to celebrate than a gala?
Some things that are valuable in and of themselves become even more meaningful when passed down from generation to generation. This is true of heirloom silver, treasured family photographs…and being chosen Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball.
Since 1878, when spectators arrived by horse-drawn wagons and steamboats to watch the debut of the parade, Veiled Prophet festivities have delighted generations of St. Louis families. The civic organization sponsors Fair St. Louis, a Fourth of July extravaganza that has brought millions of visitors to the city over the past 30 years. And although most St. Louisans are familiar with the annual ball for the Veiled Prophet Maids of Honor, they might not be fully aware of the community service initiative that is an integral part of the event. Nowadays, you’re more likely to see a Maid of Honor in gloves of grubby canvas, rather than elbow-length white satin.
The year was 1878, and the country was going through a recession in the wake of Civil War reconstruction. St. Louis, an agriculture and transportation center, was hit hard, and attendance at the Agriculture and Mechanical Fair, an important local event during harvest time, had been waning. So a group of enterprising local businessmen formed the Veiled Prophet Organization. “The idea was to promote St. Louis, enrich the quality of life for its citizens and attract visitors,” says Veiled Prophet Organization spokesperson Thomas Cooke.