The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

August 26, 2010

Beta Sigma Phi area convention coming to Palestine Sept. 17-19

PALESTINE — Anderson County City Council members of Beta Sigma Phi, a women’s social, service and cultural organization, will be welcoming sorority sisters from all over Texas and surrounding states to the “Parasols in Palestine” BSP Area Convention, to be held Sept. 17-19 at the Palestine Senior Activity Center.

“We did this nine years ago and had such a great time doing it. It’s a lot of fun for the ladies,” said BSP Area Convention co-chair April Johnston. “This will bring a lot of people to Palestine.”

Beta Sigma Phi is the largest women’s organization of its kind in the world and has grown in its lengthy history from one chapter of seven women in Abilene, Kan. to a total membership of more than 165,000 women, in over 20 countries of the world.

To match the theme of the convention, “Parasols in Palestine,” at least 25 local ladies will be dressed in Victorian dresses, hats and parasols throughout the weekend around Palestine and at the convention. Those attending will have the option to dress Victorian as well.

“I think it will be something for everyone to see — for our ladies to be dressed in our finery entertaining everyone,” Johnston said. “We look forward to having a great time, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.”

Beta Sigma Phi is recognized internationally for its philanthropic work, but the main goal of the organization is learning and friendship for its members. Beginning in 1931, Beta Sigma Phi was originally designed to provide an outlet for women who, during the Depression, could not attend college and were obliged to stay home and support their families. Beta Sigma Phi provided these women with a program of cultural study so they could experience intellectual and social growth.

Cultural and social growth remains high on the Beta Sigma Phi agenda. Each year, members organize programs that enhance cultural understanding. Members also plan socials for themselves and their communities. A highlight of the year is the area convention.

Convention co-chairs Johnston and Candis Wells attended at Beta Sigma Phi cruise ship event in May, representing Palestine and promoting the area convention.

“We have just a little over 150 signed up to attend,” Johnston said. “The registration deadline is in two weeks so we hope to have at least 200 or more come.”

Beta Sigma Phi chapters in Anderson County assisting to host the event are: Alpha Phi Kappa, Xi Alpha Gamma Lambda, Delta Alpha Masters and Xi Nu Beta.

“We will have a big event Friday night (Sept. 17) with local entertainment and a buffet dinner,” Johnston said.

Local vocalist Mandy Seale will sing and Liz Pickle will accompany her on the piano. On Saturday (Sept. 18), Justina Axum will provide the entertainment.

The Saturday general session will include speakers. Palestine businesswoman Jean Mollard of Artifacts Inc. will give a presentation on how a lady properly wears a hat.

“This will be a great event for tourism in Palestine,” Johnston said. “After the Saturday session, they will be ready to hit the town, spend money and have a good time.”

Steve Allen Images will be providing photography services for the convention, taking pictures and making a CD for the ladies to take home with them.

“This is the first convention where we will have a photographer on hand,” Johnston said.

For further information, contact convention chairpersons Candis Wells at 903-391-7070 or April Johnston at 903-729-1940. 

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