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200 attend Masquerade Ball

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Guests attending the Edenton Historical Commission's Masquerade Ball at the Wessington House in Edenton are shown Saturday evening. The ball was a fundraiser for the commission.

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By Miles Layton
Chowan Herald

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

EDENTON — It was a party organizers are hoping will be remembered a long time, maybe as long as the local architecture it was held to help preserve.

More than 200 local notables, many of them wearing masquerade masks, attended the first-ever Masquerade Ball at the Wessington House in Edenton Saturday evening.

The party served as a fundraiser for the Edenton Historical Commission, a group that works to preserve Chowan County’s architectural heritage.

“We appreciate everyone very much for being here tonight,” said Chris Bean, president of the Historical Commission. “This is a most beautiful venue for this type of party.”

Bean was referring to the Wessington House, an antebellum brick house at the intersection of West King and South Granville streets.

One of the event’s key organizers, Joy Harvill, was dressed for the event in a white gown that could have been worn by Grace Kelly.

“I want people to be talking about this party for years to come,” she said. “Our goal is to preserve historic buildings, so having it at Wessington was really important to me. Getting folks in there and talking about it increases their appreciation for our local architecture and history.”

Harvill described the Masquerade Ball as “more than a party.” She said she viewed it as “an invitation” to raise more awareness about the Historic Commission and its work.

“Our goal was to increase exposure for the Historical Commission,” Harvill said. “I feel like we did that. We did not ask for sponsors — it was all self-funded through ticket sales.”

The Edenton Historical Commission is made up of volunteers who are appointed by the governor. Its mission is to preserve local history for the education and enjoyment of both visitors and locals. A few of the commission’s recent projects include restoration of the old Chowan County Jail, the discovery and preservation of the oldest house in North Carolina, and ongoing efforts to restore the Kadish A.M.E. Zion Church.

The group doesn’t receive any state funding. The projects it oversees are funded by private donations.

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