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Annual DeSoto Ball honors past, present

The annual DeSoto Ball is always a glittering evening, but this year’s party was particularly sparkly. Almost 50 past queens and princesses donned their tiaras and sashes for a reunion at Friday night’s dance.

Former queens Veenie Goodson, Sherri Buete and past princess Edie Watson organized the fun. Attendees ranged from the immediate past queen, Ashley Sabourin, and princess, Whitney Whiddon, to Rachel Harrison, who was queen in 1951.

The past “Herns” in attendance were recognized and 1961 Hernando de Soto Ed Deane received a standing ovation when he was introduced. Watching were his wife, Billie Earle; his five daughters, Bonnie Goodman, Terry Langford, Gail Morrison, Karren Shupe and former princess Edie Watson, and one granddaughter, former DeSoto queen Stacie Velliquette.

Of course, the main event is always the announcement of the new queen and princess. The crowns went to the 2009 DeSoto Queen Natalie Hope Lopez and Princess Kimberly Ann Hillman. They joined new Hernando de Soto John Kaklis and Captain Gary Kortzendorf for the first dance of the evening.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.