ALTONA — Whatever they do, the Altona Red Hat Ladies are about one thing.
“No rules; we’re there for fun,” Red Hatter Arlene Towers said of the group of women 50 and older, known as the Altona Jackpine Rockettes.
The group will continue that quest at its annual banquet at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall in Altona.
“We’ve done some silly things over the years,” Queen Marie Boulrice said. “And that is especially important with the seriousness with growing old.”
This will be the seventh edition of the banquet. After seeing 47 women for the inaugural event, there were 119 ladies wearing red hats a year ago, including chapters from Vermont and Canada.
“It’s definitely grown a lot,” Boulrice said. “When we originally started, we sent invitations in a 75-mile radius, and they came. We play games and have prizes — anything that makes us laugh.”
“I find that day very sacred,” Towers said. “Hell will freeze over before I miss my next one.”
On the agenda this year: a fashion show featuring Red Hat volunteers from various chapters; a performance by a Hemmingford, Quebec, singing group; a keyboardist to play during friendship hour; and dancing.
“Because believe it or not, ladies like to dance,” Boulrice joked.
“And we’ll have little contests, miniature trophies and a 50/50 that has grown each year.”
And of course, comedy is on the agenda. Instead of one longer skit this year, the Altona group is planning three shorter skits.
Just don’t ask for a preview.
“We don’t like to let on what the skits are going to be,” Towers said. “We have a reputation in the North Country for some of the zaniest skits. You never know what we’re going to do.”
In existence for nine years, the Altona group is up to 27 Red Hatters. Women under age 50 can join the group, but Pink Hatters can’t officially wear the red hat until they reach the magic number.