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Nearly Cancelled, King’s Ball Back On For Feb. 5

From Staff Reports

One of Ste. Genevieve’s age-old traditions looks like it will continue, after all.

After the 2021 ball was cancelled due to COVID-19, it appeared that the February 2022 bash was also doomed.

“Our original band had a serious illness in the family and could not come,” said Ellie Douglas, who has worked with Mickey Koetting since the mid 1990s to keep the tradition going. “So we thought we were dead in the water. We thought we were not able to have the ball. But Doug Harding was able to find both a band and a caller and we’re on again.”

Harding believes he has one of each lined up. He also has a celebrity on hand for a year down the road, Cajun fiddle extraordinaire Dennis Stroughmatt.

“I did get Dennis Stroughmatt to pencil us in for 2023,” Harding said. “He was already booked for this year.”

Now that things are looking up, things are back on for the Feb. 5, 2022 event.

“Since we have a band a caller, we’re going to try and go ahead and have it,” Douglas said. “I don’t know if it will be the same as it‘s been in the past, but at least we’re going to try.”

She said the price will remain $10 for adults.

The ball is a tradition the settlers brought from France, to Canada and then down into what was called the Illinois Country. A tiny figure of Jesus (originally just a bean) is baked into one of the large sheet cakes prepared for the ball. 

Each male will receive a piece of La Galette des Rois or “the king’s cake.” Whoever gets the Jesus figure in his piece is crowned king and then gets to choose his queen.

The ball also honors a Le dame and Le Chevalier. 

More details will appear in the Herald as they are ironed out.

The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Le Petits Chanteurs will provide musical entertainment beginning at 6, until the ball commences.