A “mystery gown” is among gowns worn by ladies-in-waiting during past Texas Rose Festival coronations that are displayed during the 11th annual Festivals Gone By exhibition.
The gown was purchased in an estate sale and its history remained a mystery until research discovered its past.
Research determined that the dress is an authentic gown from the 1976 bicentennial year when the Rose Festival’s theme was Bicentennial Ballads and Banners of the Century. It was worn by Lady-in-Waiting Holley Elizabeth Smith.
It is one of 11 gowns being shown during the Festivals Gone By exhibition in the lobby of Prestige Assisted Living and Memory Care, 6928 Paluxy Drive. Most of them were previously worn by ladies-in-waiting in past Texas Rose Festivals and are on loan from the Tyler Rose Museum.
The exhibit, which opened Monday, is free and open to the public. It will continue through Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 2 to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to enter their name in drawings for a gold-plated rose and a Tyler rose-themed gift basket.
Three ladies-in-waiting gowns depicting famous singers are from the 2018 Texas Rose Festival coronation when the theme was “Rock the Rose.”
Lady-in-Waiting Hanna Louise Maynard wore a Michael Jackson costume. Annabelle Dossett Deen’s costume was Elton John and Alexis Blair Terry was Madonna.
Two gowns are on display from the 2015 Texas Rose Festival when the theme was “Royalty of the Underwater Realm.” Lady-in-Waiting Avery Gwen Brookshire’s costume was titled “Waves” and Alexandria Gowen’s costume was “Hurricane.”
There is a special display of gowns of a mother and daughter. The mother’s gown, worn by Lady-in-Waiting Jean Larkin Gulley in 1975, was titled “Fragrance.” Her daughter’s gown, worn by Lady-in-Waiting Jean Robinson Simmons, is from the 2005 Texas Rose Festival coronation when the theme was “The Greatness of Britain.”
Also exhibited are Lady-in-Waiting Peyton Peltier’s gown from 2016 when the theme was “Museum of the Majestic,” Sterling Taylor Borah’s gown from 2012 when the theme was “Indochine: Year of the Dragon,” and Andrea Walker’s gown from 1986 when the theme was “Famous Cities of the World.”
Another gown on exhibit is a “Peacock Gown,” worn in the 2014 Texas Rose Festival parade by Jo Anne McMeans, a former Ms. Texas Senior Classic Pageant queen, assistant state pageant director and community relations liaison for Prestige.