Into the Magic
Local Group Hosts Bal Masque
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Jas Orr
The Bama Theatre will be swept away into a world of magic and illusions by the Mystic Krewe of the Druids as they hold their 28th annual Bal Masque, or masquerade ball.
The ball, titled Magic: the Crystal Bal, will be held Feb. 12, as an early celebration of Mardi Gras and benefitting Five Horizons Health Services. Five Horizons is a nonprofit organization serving West Alabama by providing care and support in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Through previous balls, the Mystic Krewe has raised over half a million dollars for Five Horizons.
The theme revolves around magic, and the Krewe promises that attendees will be enchanted by “glittering illusions” and “dark undergrounds exploring the numerous facets of the magical arts.”
The Captain of the Bal, Bradley Logan, who proposed the theme and led the planning of the ball said it allowed for a lot of options like potions and spells, movie and theater magic.
“People can expect to see acts dealing with fortune-telling, magic spells, sorcery, Vegas magic, that kind of stuff. If you can think of anything that’s magical, it will potentially appear that evening,” Logan said.
Though tickets are sold out, anyone who wants to support the Krewe can send them a check. All donations to the Mystic Krewe of the Druids are tax-deductible. Additionally, there will be a viewing party after the event
Instead of a normal ball last year, the Krewe did a virtual look back on the previous years, giving more anticipation to this year’s ball. The event will be following social distancing guidelines, as well as having a reduced capacity and strongly encouraging masks.
“The word magic often finds its way into conversation about it but it’s really going to be a magical evening because we have not been there since 2020,” Logan said. “It’s been a year and half plus of long, long planning. We’ve had to turn things off and figure out how to turn things back on.”
The organization started in 1992, under the name The Quilting Bee. They held two drag shows at a local gay bar, raising $5,000 for Five Horizons, then named West Alabama AIDS Outreach. After people in the community reached out and said they wanted to participate, but did not want to go to a bar, the group reformed in 1994 and adopted the name the Mystic Krewe of the Druids, in reference to Tuscaloosa’s nickname of Druid City.
“There really was not a lot of AIDS here in Tuscaloosa, but in the late 80’s we started seeing it in our friends,” said Ray Taylor, a founding member of the Krewe. “We researched the area and found out about West Alabama AIDS Outreach, so we decided ‘let’s do something and we’ll give the money to WAAO.’ So that’s how it really got started, and at first it was just a drag show at a bar, and we were very emphatic about making sure that everybody knew that the money was going to WAAO.”
The Krewe has a set number of 40 members, but those looking to get involved should attend events and contact a current Krewe member. They can also be found on Facebook, Youtube, and on their website.
In addition to the annual balls, the Krewe uses other means to raise money for Five Horizons, including an annual holiday drag brunch called Silver Belles, hosted at the Bear Claw. They have also hosted a drag pageant to name Mr and Miss Druid at Icon Tuscaloosa.