Proms and Pork | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Proms and Pork

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Amie Whittington, Maggie Middleton, Julie Skipper and Erin Kelly as 1980s ladies at the Mistletoe Marketplace Molly Ringwalds party.

Some truisms are absolute. Among them: Ladies my age love an 1980s party, and guys love fire and meat. But when undertaken properly, these different undertakings can appeal to both sexes.

For many a Jacksonian, the Junior League of Jackson's Mistletoe Marketplace signals the official start of the holiday season. Over the past couple of years, the annual shoppers' extravaganza added a Friday night party featuring popular 1980s cover band The Molly Ringwalds. I unabashedly love the Mollys, and given this year's Mistletoe party theme of a 1980s prom, it was like a dream come true. Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-605-9393) came through with the perfect dress--white taffeta with huge ruffled sleeves and lots of silver-sequin appliques. I'm fairly certain it graced a football field on a homecoming maid circa 1988.

You might think the men populating a Junior League-sponsored 1980s prom party would be reluctant significant others and spouses, but you would be wrong. The fellows had as much fun as the ladies. It's my experience that guys really enjoy The Molly Ringwalds, too, and at this party, they embraced the theme with gusto. I saw numerous Mavericks (from "Top Gun"), fellows channeling "Miami Vice" and multiple mullet wigs. But my favorites were the guys sporting classic DTM (that's dyed-to-match) cumberbunds and bow ties in shades of turquoise and hot pink to compliment their dates' dresses.

After a night of rocking out to 1980s tunes in dresses so pouffy they make noise when you move, what's a group of '80s ladies to do? Head to the pub, naturally. The good patrons of Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) initially were taken aback when they saw our attire, but my companions for the night and I quickly won them over. Take note, dear readers: A good costume or theme outfit, particularly when it's not Halloween, is an excellent conversation-starter.

Having satisfied my girly sequin quota, I was excited to receive an invitation from my friend Chris Myers to a backyard barbecue invitational at his and his fiance Rachel Jarman's house in Fondren. Chris and Arthur Jones are rather famed barbecue hosts. I always look forward to their events because the guys cook--men love to play with fire and meat, right?--while the girls just get to hang out, and also because the eclectic group of Jacksonians who show up is so interesting.

For this event, Chris invited eight teams to compete in various categories: bird, ribs and miscellaneous meat. The teams showed their spirit with costumes, custom-made aprons and props (Team Sweet Child o' Swine had inflatable musical instruments).

Meanwhile, the guests enjoyed the fruits of the teams' labor, each other's company and hula-hoops. Good food, fun people and great weather made for the first of many barbecue invitationals to come.

Whether an 1980s party with the ladies or grilling with the guys, an event where everyone involved goes all out ensures that everyone leaves happy. With the holidays upon us, I know there are more opportunities to come, and I can't wait.

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