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Carnival Memphis

Crown & Sceptre Ball

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry 

The start of the 2018 Carnival Week commenced as Carnival Memphis celebrated its 87th anniversary with the Crown & Sceptre Ball. The event was held at the Hilton Memphis and included all of the grand traditions of pomp and pageantry expected from this white tie ball. Although each of the Grand Krewes had already held their separate coronations for their kings and queens and royal courts, the Crown & Sceptre Coronation Ball is the occasion when the King and Queen of Carnival are formally presented and ascend their thrones. 

Ginger Collier, 2018 President of Carnival, (the first woman to hold this title) welcomed the crowd as Carnival Memphis honored the Fashion Apparel Industry. Collier explained, “Each year we celebrate a different business industry. Additionally, each year we raise money for three children’s charities. This year our beneficiaries were Agape Children’s & Family Services, The Emmanuel Center, and Memphis Athletic Ministries.”

As the coronation ceremonies began, King of Carnival, James Brinkley Taylor, Jr., escorted Queen Ellen Lane Horn to their respective thrones. Taylor connects to the fashion industry, as his wife, Mimi, and daughter, Semmes Humphreys, are co-owners of The Pink Door, a Lilly Pulitzer signature shop in East Memphis. His family is deeply rooted in Memphis history, including his great-great-grandfather, Robert Campbell Brinkley, who built the original Peabody Hotel, and Taylor has been active in Carnival Memphis since 1995.

Ellen also continued her family’s tradition of participating in and supporting Carnival Memphis. Her grandfather, Ralph Horn, served as King of Carnival in 2002, and her aunt Maggie was Queen of Carnival in 2007. Ellen began her own ties to Carnival as a Royal Page and later as a Court Princess. She recently graduated from The University of Tennessee - Knoxville.

The Carnival Royal Pages followed next in the procession, along with members of the Loyal Order of Scarabs, a group of young men who serve as the Royal Guard for the King and Queen of Carnival. Next the “fairest ladies of the land,” the princesses of Carnival, were presented and escorted to the front of the room, followed by the Ladies of the Realm. This year’s royal court consisted of 30 young women, all rising college sophomores, from across Memphis and the Mid-South. As the coronation festivities continued, royalty from each of the Grand Krewes were presented before the King and Queen. The Boll Weevils, wearing their unique costumes of green, concluded the procession. As the evening progressed, The Jimmy Church Revue provided musical entertainment that brought people back to their feet to dance the night away. 

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