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On Sunday afternoon, my husband, Bradford, and I donned our Ball costumes to ready ourselves for an afternoon of sheer wonder! Our carriage (Ford Escort) delivered us to the Jane Austen Gala, held in a lovely ballroom (Public Library circa 1901) in Waterville, Maine.

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Upon our entry, we were thrilled to see such a large turn out for the gala. We were greeted by some very hospitable students from the Jane Austen course at Colby College, who hosted this event. The Evening with Jane Austen Gala was the grand finale of their civic engagement course on the popular 19th century British author.

Most of the guests donned attire befitting the Regency Era (1800-1830). The costumes were so creative. Upon my word, I don’t think I have ever seen so many beautiful ladies and gentlemen gathered together in one place in all my life. Gentlemen wore top hats, coats, breaches and cravats while the ladies wore elegant empire waisted gowns with shawls and pretty hair adornments and curls.

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A wonderful faire of delectable refreshments were served including meat croissants, fresh fruit, rose water cookies, gingerbread cookies, sweet buns, quiche, and more. Beverages included hot tea and coffee and Prince Regent Punch! The punch was a particular favorite of the Prince Regent, who insisted that it was served at all of his balls. I thought it was absolutely delicious and quite refreshing indeed.

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There were displays set up all around the rooms adjoining the main “ball room”. The displays featured information on the famous authoress and the regency era including Jane Austen literature and novels, tea items, fashion and social history, letter writing, etc. There were also numerous handouts with information to take home, which I plan to put in my scrapbook. Movies based on her books were even projected upon the wall for entertainment. An activity was set up for those who wished to hand paint paper fans with watercolors. Many enjoyed doing so and the beautiful fans were made proper use of once dried.

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Throughout the afternoon a pair of talented violinists played Regency Era country dance music, creating a delightful atmosphere for all. People gathered around to watch as the college students demonstrated how they danced in the early years of the 1800′s. Guests were invited to join in and lined up in the customary form the length of the ball room. It was much fun watching as the dancers do-se-doed and sashayed, skipped and twirled round and round. Although quite organized, the simplicity and sweet elegance of the dances masked any fault made by the novice dancers of unfamiliar moves. Everyone was looking, and nobody cared, it was just too much fun! I wonder what Jane would have thought!

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A lot of hard work was put into this event and I know all of us who attended are so appreciative. It was a very pleasurable afternoon and a nice retreat into another time and place!

I have loads of pictures for you to view. Some taken by me and others by my friend, Sherry, who was also present with her young daughters.

View the Jane Austen Gala photo album here, complete with Jane Austen quotes.

Or view it as a slide show.

P.S. I’d love for you to leave a comment, but if you choose not to I shall just consider the following to be so . . . “Your silence on the subject of our ball makes me suppose your curiosity too great for words.” ~ Jane Austen

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