Hello, Queen Morgan
By JOYCE TURNER and COSHANDRA DILLARD
Morgan Elizabeth Rippy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Reed Rippy, will reign as queen of the 2011 Texas Rose Festival, featuring the theme, "The Grand Illusion," TRF President Thomas Boyd Ramey III announced during a news conference Friday evening at the Tyler Rose Museum.
Virginia Winston Anderson, duchess of the Texas Rose Festival, speaks at the Tyler Rose Museum.
Virginia Winston Anderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rowe McGrede Anderson, will serve as duchess of the Texas Rose Festival for 2011, he said.
Miss Rippy pledged to be an ambassador for Tyler and thanked her parents and Ramey for the opportunity to serve in the role. She also reminded the crowd about the significance of the annual events that celebrate Tyler's treasure.
"Having grown up around the Texas Rose Festival, I've come to realize that it's not just about girls in fancy dresses," Miss Rippy said. "It's about the pride of our community -- a community known as the rose capital and the rose festival being about our city and its rose industry."
Miss Anderson also thanked her family for their support for their efforts, along with volunteers, in making each festival a memorable occasion.
"They have been involved with the rose festival for as long as I can remember and I know that without their support, I would not be here tonight," she said. "The rose festival instills so much pride in our community, and it is a privilege to be in Queen Morgan's court."
Ramey noted that this year's court is the largest rose festival officials have seen in years, evoking cheers from the crowd.
"This is the largest court from Tyler in over 10 years, representing 60 Tyler families who love this city, who believe in this city and support this city," he said.
The court and their families also celebrated the upcoming Texas Rose Festival season during the 19th annual Winter Gala.
Lonny Uzzell, president of the Tyler Rose Museum, said the fundraiser -- which immediately followed the announcements -- benefits the museum. It showcases the history and traditions of the rose industry and the annual festival. More than 300,000 visitors have come to the museum since it opened in 1992.
"Because of the hard work and generosity of so many, the Rose Museum proudly tells many of the hardships and successes of the rosegrowing industry and the pageantry of the Texas Rose Festival. It's truly a rose festival yearround," Uzzell said.
The 2011 Texas Rose Festival will explore whimsical themes that have inspired American literature, theater, cinema and the arts. For the 27th year, Winn Morton will be the costume and set designer.
Ramey said the festival, set Oct. 13 through 15, will be "the grandest community celebration of its kind anywhere in America."
"We live in the most unique city in America -- a city known worldwide for its forever connection to America's national flower; a city that still to this day supplies 75 percent of all the commercial roses grown in the United States," he said.
Miss Rippy, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Hargis Rippy and Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Reese Thomas, all of Tyler, has a twin brother, James Patrick Rippy, who is a freshman at Emory University in Georgia. She will serve as an ambassador for the Texas Rose Festival and the rose industry for the year, which will be highlighted by the 78th Texas Rose Festival.
Miss Rippy is a 2010 graduate of Grace Community High School in Tyler, where she was a varsity cheerleader. While attending high school, Miss Rippy volunteered with many nonprofit organizations including The Salvation Army, Mother Frances Hospital, YMCA, MADD, Junior Symphony League and the American Cancer Society Lil' Wranglers' Roundup. In addition, she served as a Little Dribblers basketball coach, helped with the Grace Community School auction and Children's Cheerleading Camp. She also has volunteered for past rose festivals, serving as a junior tea hostess and coronation runner, and assisting with decorations for the Queen's Ball.
Miss Rippy received the Windsor Distinguished Service Award by the JSL, attended Camp Mystic for seven years and studied classical ballet for eight years. She was presented as a Duchess of Tyler in the Neches River Festival in Beaumont her senior year. Queen Morgan is a freshman at the University of Alabama, where she is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and is studying fashion retailing.
Miss Rippy and her family have a long history of involvement with the Texas Rose Festival. Her mother, Susan Thomas Rippy, served as both an attendant to Queen Cynthia Stringer in 1972 and later served as a ladyinwaiting in 1980. Her father, James Reed Rippy, served as an escort in 1977 and as president of the Order of the Rose in 2006. Miss Rippy's uncles each participated as escorts: Charles Glenn Rippy served as an escort in 1981 and as escort to Queen Jamie Arnold in 1982; Lewis Bradley Rippy served as an escort in 1985 and Kevin Scott Thomas as an escort in 1983 and 1984. Her aunt, Jennifer Tefteller Rippy, served as a ladyinwaiting in 1991.
Miss Anderson is a 2010 graduate of All Saints Episcopal High School. While in high school, she volunteered for the Komen Race for the Cure, Meals On Wheels, the East Texas Symphony and participated in mission projects through Marvin United Methodist Church and All Saints School. She also participated in Young Life and Dance 'n' Drill drill team with competitive dance and cheer. Miss Anderson attended Camp Mystic for seven years.
The duchess of the Texas Rose Festival attends the University of Alabama. Miss Anderson represented Tyler as the duchess of the Nacogdoches Heritage Festival and the Waco Cotton Palace. Also, she served as trainbearer to Queen Caroline Key in the 2000 Texas Rose Festival.
Family members who have participated in the Rose Festival include her mother, Betty Gordon Anderson, who served as an attendant to Queen Mary Martha Fair in 1971 and served as a lady-in-waiting in 1979. Her aunt, Emily Gordon Gabriel, served as a lady-in-waiting, and her uncle, Gus Allen Gordon, served as an escort. Her cousins, Mary Martha Fair, Virginia Rice Fair and Kay Elizabeth Fair all served as previous rose queens in the years 1971, 1978 and 1981 respectively.
Ladiesinwaiting who will serve in the 2011 Texas Rose Festival are Alisa Danielle Carney, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Robert John Carney; Molly Claire Cook, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Randall Jay Cook; Kathryn Ashley Cooper, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Paul Cooper; Anne Claire Cowan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Duane Cowan; Alexandria Dianne Farrell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robin Doyle Farrell; Keri Lane Fidone, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jeff Fidone; Jessica Lynn Hart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kirk Hart; Alexandria Nicole Hembree, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Mark R. Hembree; Olivia Whitney Jacobi, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John David Jacobi; and Bonnie Elizabeth Michaels, daughter of Karen Michaels and Dr. David Dick.
Also, Ravain Marie Owens, daughter of Shirley Watkins Owens; Karson AnnMarie Payne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Dale Payne; Anna Mildred Pollard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Frank Pollard; Jaime Michelle Powell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Woodie Bogard and the late Jack Jay Powell; Mollie Claire Richey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lanier Richey; Julie Diane Roosth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steven Carl Roosth; Paige Alexandra Scholler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Riley and Thomas Scholler; Lauren Taylor Smith, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Smith; Sarah Allison Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory D. Smith; Samantha Brooke Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Perry Thompson III; Kelsey Elizabeth Tullos, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Roland Arnold and Mr. and Mrs. James Nathan Tullos Jr.; Grace Marie Weathers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walker Don Weathers; and Maggie Grace Williams, daughter of Cynthia D. Williams and Timothy F. Williams.
Also announced were the queen's attendants for the 2011 festival. They are Ellen Winston Ferguson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Winston Ferguson Jr.; Grace Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Russell Gordon; Caroline Elizabeth Lofquist, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barry Dean Lofquist; Katherine Elizabeth Neal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Preston Neal; George William Rippy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bradley Rippy Sr.; Anne Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Rex Thompson; Olivia Louis White, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Bennett White IV; Vivian BurnettEngeron Willis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Willis; and Olivia Bristol Young, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Young Jr.
Also named as committee chairmen for the festival are Tim Alexander, coronation vice president; Beth Whitney and Margo Adams, coronation cochairwomen; Peggy Smith and Ann Lake, royalty cochairwomen; and Peggy Brelsford and Susan Hightower, escort cochairwomen. Randall Grooms will serve as the Rose Show vice president with Kelley Brownlow as Rose Show chairman.
Officers of the 2011 festival are Ramey, president; Tim Alexander, executive vice president of coronation; Randall Grooms, vice president of rose activities/Rose Show; Preston Smith, vice president of distinguished guests, Men's Luncheon and vespers; Harold Bertram, treasurer; Sunni Brookshire, administrative assistant; Victoria Ashworth, marketing and media liaison; Christopher I. Jones, Strutters president; and Julie Kidwell, executive director.
The 2011 Winter Gala committee chairwoman is Brandy Carlisle Sawyer.