Below is our interview with Tammy Hatcher, who runs Maury County’s Confederate Christmas Ball, which Natalie Allison of The Tennessean tweeted about earlier today:
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) December 6, 2019
It turns out it is in fact a real thing, taking place tomorrow night in Columbia.
“Step back in time and fill your dance card as you swirl the floor to authentic Reels, Promenades and Waltzes popular during the 1860s. On site dance instruction provided by dance master Mark Orman, period music provided by the 52 Tennessee Band. Light refreshments will be served.
Period dress is a must for participants and optional for spectators. Tickets go on sale October 1st. 2019.
Advanced tickets 30.00 and 35.00 at the door. Spectator tickets (non period dress) 25.00. For tickets and costume rental contact Tammy Hatcher at 931-698-3876 mailing address 4595 Old Sowell Mill Pike Columbia Tennessee 38401.”
We went ahead and called Tammy Hatcher. Here’s what she had to say.
HOLLER: How long has the Confederate Ball been running?
TAMMY: This is our 23rd year.
HOLLER: And how many people generally attend?
TAMMY: Anywhere from 150… I have had 200.
HOLLER: And what kind of events happen there? What is the program?
TAMMY: It’s basically a historic dance. We have a band that plays period music of the time and we dance. We just dance and have a good time. We do serve finger foods. That’s basically what we do.
HOLLER: What’s your background? Are you born and raised in Tennessee?
TAMMY: I am, yes. Born and raised in Columbia. I’ve always been into history.
HOLLER: And how do people dress at the Ball?
TAMMY: They dress in 1860’s period clothes. Spectators are welcome also. They cannot dance. We reserve the dance for period costumed participants.
HOLLER: Is there an acknowledgment of the racial aspect of it?
TAMMY: No. I have black folks that come. It’s not racially divided in any way. And no – we don’t do speeches, we don’t talk about anything, we dance. That’s all we do.
Tammy then asked about the Tennessee Holler.
TAMMY: Do y’all take… I don’t know how to say this without sounding ugly – there are a lot of people who don’t like people that do what we do. Are y’all on board with that train?
HOLLER: What train is that?
TAMMY: The one that’s trying to cover up our history, tear down our monuments… a lot of people like to advocate for certain kinds of things, and I don’t have any tolerance for those kinds of people. I don’t oppose to anybody knowing what we do. We’ve done it for years. We get together, we dance, and we have a good time. It’s not political. It’s not racial. It’s not anybody trying to segregate or… you know, be ugly to any one group of people.
HOLLER: Seems like what they would say probably is if it’s a celebration of the Confederacy that tends to rub people the wrong way.
TAMMY: It is a celebration of our history. We dance, and we have a good time. That is all we do. It is a Christmas celebration. We just picked the year 1860… but just because I have the word “confederate” in it, I don’t want anybody trying to stir up shit. Because the word “confederate” should not offend anybody. And it does offend a lot of people. But it shouldn’t. It’s ridiculous.
HOLLER: But sometimes the person who gets offended can’t control what offends them, right?
TAMMY: Well that’s true. And that’s what’s wrong with our society today. People can’t seem to control themselves. Just because they’re offended they think everybody else should be offended, and everything should be changed because they’re offended. People need to get over being offended. My goodness. I’ve lived 60 years and I can’t tell you the things that offend me and have offended me during my life – but I don’t try to change people because I’m offended… anybody that wants to come, we are a family-friendly event. We have young people come. Up from children to 15-16 year-old teenagers. No alcohol. Very hospitable. Nothing for anybody to be offended by in my opinion.