'The power of fun': Red Hat Society brings queens and bling to the Queen City

The Regina Chapter of the Red Hat Society is hosting its western conference in Regina on May 4 and 5.

The Red Hat Society was started by a woman wanting to help her friend let loose as they got older

The Regina chapter of the Red Hat Society setting up and having a little meeting before hosting the society's western conference. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

A gathering of women with red hats, purple outfits and "bling" as jewelry is taking place in Regina.

The Red Hat Society is in the Queen City for its western conference this weekend.

Mary Coppin is the queen of the Regina Royal Diamonds, the local chapter of the International Red Hat Society group.

"The queen is the head of the chapter," she said.

The queen makes sure everyone takes turns in organizing and helps out.

"It's the power of fun," Coppin said. "Having fun is as a positive thing and it's contagious."

She said the society was also very supportive during a difficult time when her husband was very ill.

The local Regina chapter of the Red Hat Society is hosting the 2019 western conference. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Coppin's chapter is hosting the conference at the Travelodge in Regina. She expects people from all over British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba to take part.

"We just don't stay in Regina, especially during the summertime," she said.

This upcoming summer, Coppin and one of her members are going to Nashville for the international convention of the Red Hat Society.

The Red Hat Society is all about letting loose as a person ages and their decor shows the 'have fun' attitude. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

The Red Hat Society started with a simple poem. The founder, Sue Ellen Cooper, gave her best friend a poem about letting loose when a person gets older. The poem came with a red hat.

Now the international society is more than two decades old. Coppin hopes all the women coming to the conference enjoy themselves, she said.

All about the bling

Beryl Laronge has been a member for years and she spoke about the fun of "bling," or shiny jewelry.

"You just put on all the bling. On your hats, on your wrists, and your necklaces and your rings. Then you get your fingernails painted, and bracelets," she said.

Beryl Laronge is part of the Red Hat Society and poses with their mascot, Ruby, who has the same name as Laronge's mother. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Laronge's favourite piece of bling is one piece she's had for years.

"My dad gave me a rhinestone bracelet when I was 13 years old and it was one of those expansion rhinestones," she said.

For Laronge, the Red Hat Society takes her back to her tea parties with her mom as a child.

"It's little girls playing and we get all dressed up and play," she said. "This is my cup of tea."

Growing the Red Hat Society

Coppin said she hopes to see Red Hats all throughout Saskatchewan. She's aware of at least two new chapters that have started up or are going to be soon.

The Red Hat Society decorated with hand-crafted decor and butterflies, which represent people who are no longer with them but there in spirit. (Heidi Atter/CBC )

Phyllis Bamfard originally joined after hearing about the Red Hat Society while volunteering at the Regina Floral Conservatory. She enjoys the looks and attention the ladies receive when they are out and about.

"You have lasting friendships," Bamfard said. "Yesterday, we were at the hotel and the young people stop and ask you about it or [say] 'My grandma was a Red Hat," she said. "It's so amazing."

"We're at the age where [it] doesn't really matter what you do, you know, and you don't worry about what other people think," she said. "We're just having fun."

With files from The Afternoon Edition


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