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Aurora Ball provides royal evening for attendees

The occasion for merriment, promenades and royally good fun has come once again to the Port Arthur Civic Center.

Guests enjoy themselves on the dance floor at the 2017 Aurora Ball. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Guests enjoy themselves on the dance floor at the 2017 Aurora Ball. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

The Majestic Krewe of Aurora hosted its 25th Annual Grand Ball Saturday at the Bob Bowers Civic Center Saturday night. The event, a privilege for MKA members and sponsors, serves as the exit of reigning Aurora King and Queen and the coronation of the new year’s royalty.

This year’s king and queen are Amy and Jason Hinds.

Amy and Jason Hinds stand as the 2017 Queen and King  of the Aurora Ball Saturday night. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Amy and Jason Hinds stand as the 2017 Queen and King of the Aurora Ball Saturday night. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

They replace Krissy and Dana Melancon.

The ceremony is known as the tableau.

“The tableau is the presentation of royalty, the crowning of the new King and Queen,” Childress said.

The royalty is determined by luck of the draw, so no one knew who the new couple would be — except for maybe Lady Luck herself.

“It’s the anticipation of it,” Childress said. “That’s part of the fun.”

Laura Childress, dressed as Goddess of the Galaxy, throws out beads to Aurora attendees. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Laura Childress, dressed as Goddess of the Galaxy, throws out beads to Aurora attendees. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

The Aurora Krewe is the founding Krewe of Mardi Gras Southeast Texas and the Ball is a tradition of Mardi Gras. Each year the Krewe holds a celebration with its members.

“It’s festive, fun and exciting. It’s celebrating the season,” Childress said.

This year’s ball was much the same as the balls in years prior, with a mixture of black tie formality alongside a fun, festive atmosphere of dancing.

Brad Becker throws out gifts during the 2017 Aurora Ball. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Brad Becker throws out gifts during the 2017 Aurora Ball. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

In discussing its history, Childress explained that two gentlemen were getting together with friends in casual conversation one day. They wanted to do a fundraiser and economic development for the area. So, they made a plan to put it together that involved nonprofit organizations that could provide seed money.

That was when the Aurora Krewe was first established in 1992, along with Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas. The Krewe held its first ball in 1993.

“It’s one of the highlights of the year for everyone and for Southeast Texas,” Childress said, pointing out the guests and acts that come to enjoy themselves.

One masked guest adorns another with festive beads. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

One masked guest adorns another with festive beads. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Childress estimated there are 1,000 people who regularly attend the Ball.

Mardi Gras mainstay and MKA Ball Captain Cynthia Hinds is a fixture of the Aurora Ball and all-around event organizer.

Aside from making sure that everything for the big event goes smoothly, Hinds said her duties as Ball Captain include “just about everything.”

From designing and creating costumes to planning, Hinds has been with the Krewe for 21 years.

“Once you do it, you get hooked on it,” Hinds said. “I’ve made lifelong friends through this.”

Leslie Ruiz, dressed as Goddess of the Sun, throws out beads to Aurora attendees. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Leslie Ruiz, dressed as Goddess of the Sun, throws out beads to Aurora attendees. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

One of the most important features of designing the Ball, according to Hines, comes from its theme for the year. For the Aurora Ball’s 25th year, they decided to return to its roots and make it divine.

“We decided to make it over Aurora, the founding goddess of the Krewe,” Hinds said. “She’s the goddess of the dawn; and, for this festival, she’s celebrating with her friends.”

That celebration was key as members and sponsors all converged at the civic center to mingle, dance and, most importantly, to have fun.

Guests shield themselves from the falling confetti by having festively colored umbrellas with them. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Guests shield themselves from the falling confetti by having festively colored umbrellas with them. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)