Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lucille Ball, that is; look-alike contest all for fun

By Jo Ann Mathews
For The Sun News

Pleasant weather, jivin' music and a warm welcome in The Meadow at Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., set the stage for the fifth annual Purple Feet Festival on Saturday.

A highlight of this gathering in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., is the Lucille Ball Look-Alike contest. Seven women entered the contest, and they all said they did it for the fun of it. Besides, they love Lucy.

Only one Little Miss Lucy, Caroline Rourk of the Holden Beach area of Supply, N.C., entered the contest, but she fit right in.

"It sounded like fun," said her mother, Kathy Rourk.

The contestants were judged on their resemblance to Lucy, on their ability to stomp grapes and on how they answered the question that Maryann Azzato, owner of the winery, posed to them: "What do you have to say to Ricky?" After they paraded on the concrete dance floor, the audience's applause determined the winner. Bottles of wine were the prizes.

Let's meet these courageous, enterprising and fun-loving women.

Mae Drezek, Lucy 2006

"I never had this [attention] before. I had no expectations," the newly crowned Lucy 2006 said. "When you're in the news, you're embarrassed. You ask, 'Why am I doing this?'"

The crowd cheered and clapped when Drezek, the last of the seven contestants, answered Azzato's question with, "Ricky, you have some 'splainin' to do!"

The crowd erupted with enthusiasm.

Drezek, 58, said she didn't bring a large contingent of well-wishers from Brunswick Plantation in Calabash, N.C., to cheer for her.

"I guess it's the look," she said to explain why the crowd chose her as the winner.

The "look" started when she went as Lucy to the Halloween party at Brunswick Plantation. The dress she wore moved from New York with her, but she found the wig at Colonial Mall in Myrtle Beach.

"I pinned the dress up, and the rest came to me," she said.

Kim Honan, first runner-up

"I figure I look like [Lucy]," the Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C., resident said. "She's a natural redhead," added her friend, Joan Blanchard, who was visiting from Fayetteville, N.C. Honan explained that she scoured vintage stores for her outfit, did some sewing and watched "Lucy" television shows to get into character.

"[My husband] has been calling me Lucy for weeks," she said. Chris Honan said he drove his wife to several places to get the perfect outfit. "I was all for it," he said of her entry in the contest. "I just liked participating - getting dressed up and participating," Kim Honan added.

Janet Abbott,

second runner-up

Silver Coast Winery is a special place for Janet and Bill Abbott, who live in both Sumter and Charleston. They are members of the wine club and were married in the winery's barrel room July 22.

"This dress is way old," Abbott said about her outfit. "It's one of those stay-at-the-back-of-the closet dresses. I don't throw anything away."

Bill picked out the yarn for her hair at Wal-Mart to complete the ensemble.

After being named a prize winner, Abbott, 49, said she'd be enjoying the two bottles of wine she won.

"There was good competition here," she said.

Lisa Collins

"I am a little like Lucy," this Holden Beach, N.C. resident said. "I love to stomp grapes. I do it annually here."

"She and Lucy both are hyper," added her husband, Shannon Collins.

"He's Ricky," Lisa Collins countered.

Collins, 44, who sells medical equipment for CVC Home Medical in Wilmington, N.C., said she put the outfit together herself. "I did this just to have fun."

"She got it out of her closet. I said, 'Go for it,'" Shannon said. "The hard part was getting her hair to stay in place."

"I have lots of hair," Collins said, adjusting the headband with its gigantic red bow.

Lillian Pittman

"I'm really getting into it. I'm dyeing my hair for it," this Calabash, N.C. resident said. "I even have a Lucy tag on my car."

She explained that her friend, Brenda Kans of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., found the tag at Coastal Grand mall in Myrtle Beach and bought it for her.

Pittman, 58, who was named Lucy 2004, said her two sons tease her about being just like Lucy. She recalled the time she used a vacuum to clean the soot from an oil-burning stove, but hadn't changed the vacuum bag. It exploded, scattering its contents throughout the living room. She was covered in soot and sobbing as she tried to clean up the mess.

"Now that's just what Lucy would do," her sons had told her.

What's worse, in the process, the doorbell rang and her boyfriend appeared on the doorstep. The two did not end up marrying.

Julie Mullins and

Jodi Blankenship

Mullins of Sunset Beach, N.C. said she loves Lucy, loves wine and the contest sounded like fun.

Besides, "Who doesn't like to dress up?" she said.

She raided her daughter's closet for her outfit and came to the event with co-worker Jodi Blankenship of Shallotte, N.C. Both are veterinary technicians at Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C. "I love Lucille Ball," Blankenship said. "She's my idol."

The most memorable part of the contest was the grape stomping, Blankenship said.

"It was very massaging. It was smooth."

Caroline Rourk -

Little Lucy 2006

Caroline Rourk, 6, of Supply, N.C. said she was happy she entered the contest.

"I got to smash grapes," said Caroline, who wants to come back next year. "I'll wear the same thing."

Her mom, Kathy Rourk, said the pair put the outfit together that morning.