Near the end of the 2015 King’s Ball, Le Chevalier, whose identity had remained under wraps until late in the gala, kissed his real-life “dame” — and Jack and Mickey Koetting smooched with the sweet ease of two people who have been a couple for decades.
That yearly French-inspired celebration of music and dancing, which dates here from two and a half centuries ago, took place Saturday evening in the Ste. Genevieve Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 852 Memorial Drive.
Weeks ago, Ellie Douglass and Mickey Koetting, the February 7 gala’s customary organizers, named Sandra Cabot, Ste. Genevieve’s director of tourism, as La Dame.
To add a gleeful smidgen of mystery to its abundant history, though, they kept a carefully guarded secret the identity of Le Chevalier — even from Le Chevalier himself.
Also named at the gala, to which hundreds of people (many in French Colonial attire) thronged, were the 2015 king, a youthful visitor here from Illinois, as well as his local choice for queen, two local attendants and their local consorts.
The festivities embraced all ages, as well. Periodically, tykes in tricorns and frills zigged and zagged across the dance floor and chased one another among the tables and chairs bracketing it.
Somewhat later in the evening, the gala’s traditional cakes circulated for sectioning among male participants. According to custom, one of the cakes contained a plastic charm of the infant Jesus to signify the “king” of the King’s Ball.
“Found it!” quickly sounded from the center of the floor, as an arm in blue plaid rose triumphantly toward the ceiling, with the charm clutched in that hand.
The arm — and the honor of serving as king — belonged to Sean McCann, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist visiting Ste. Genevieve from Staunton, Illinois.
McCann noted that he had “come down with my buddy,” indicating another attendee in a swank, tan neo-Eisenhower jacket who declined to identify himself, and quickly chose as his queen Ste. Genevieve High School freshman Kaitlyn Abt.
Directly, the senior attendant and junior attendant also were identified: SGHS sophomores Austin Caldwell and Morgan Uzzell, respectively.
Caldwell selected as his consort SGHS freshman Madison Raney; Uzzell, his and Caldwell’s classmate, Amanda Wolf.