I was a camper back in the late 70’s, early 80’s. One of the highlights of Main Camp each summer was the Queen of Love and Beauty (QLB). At that time, QLB was themed and the craftsmen were in charge of decorating the pavilion.
The Queen’s crown was made out of fresh flowers and each girl chosen for the court had a bouquet of flowers. A few weeks before QLB, the campers were asked to nominate older girls and a younger camper (Tentalow 1 or 2 who would be the crown bearer) whom they felt best exemplified the Spirit of Greystone. Votes were then tallied and the Queen and her court were chosen.
Letters were sent to the parents of these girls, requesting a long dress to be sent along with an invitation to attend the event. The crown bearer wore either whites or a nice Sunday dress. The parents were asked not to tell the daughters, as this was a big surprise for all of camp and a high honor!
On the day before QLB, the girls were notified that they had been chosen for the court and to report to Whitehall after dinner the following day.
After morning assembly the day of QLB the craftsmen surrounded the pavilion with sheets so that no one could view inside. They decorated and transformed the pavilion into a beautiful place for the Queen and her court. Sheets were hung at the back of the pavilion as well, creating a hidden corridor so that when each girl came through they would then be able to pose for pictures before crossing a bridge into the pit, assisted by Jimdaddy, wearing a tux and no socks of course!
After dinner that night, the campers were asked to stay on the pageant court or below the road. The chosen court would discreetly go to Whitehall to get ready. At 7:30 the bugle blew for evening program and the guests and campers were then allowed to enter the decorated pavilion.
Once the campers were seated in the pavilion, the counselors hosting the event (former campers that were on QLB) would start the night with introductions while the Queen and her court walked down from Whitehall. The court was announced first with each girl walking through the sheeted corridor that led to the bridge to the oohs and ahs of the surprised campers and proud parents.
Finally the big moment arrives- the Maid of Honor is announced and then the Queen. Once the Queen and her court were seated, Mrs. Hanna would crown the Queen and we all sang Ideal Girl to her. Then the program began with a short themed skit performed by the counselors much like Banquet. As time went on instead of a skit the winners of a talent audition would perform.
At the end of the evening the Queen and her court would exit the pavilion the same way they entered, followed by the guests and campers to the Dining Hall where a small reception was held with punch and cookies. Programs were also given out listing the Queen and her court. It was a magical night, filled with mystery and excitement!
The Queen’s Ball tradition continues still with the Senior Celebration at Main Camp, where all of the senior campers are honored and given the opportunity to show their talents. Each girl processes in with the help of Jimboy, holding her own sunflower. At the end, the Queen and her court are announced, just like they used to be. It’s a beloved tradition that still continues!