The Maids of Jubilee, in Fairhope, was the first ladies' parading group to form in the Eastern Shore region of south Alabama.

Since the organization's founding in 1985, it has grown immensely, boasting more than 400 members these days. In most ladies' groups - at least in Mobile - there are male marshals on horseback or no marshals at all. The Maids of Jubilee, however, has female marshals on horseback.

Or, sometimes, on a camel.

In south Alabama, by the way, "jubilee" does not mean "a special anniversary." No, around here, a jubilee is an infrequent phenomenon that occurs when the waters and the winds are just right, and all the fishes in the shallows are rendered almost comatose. Word gets out quickly, and folks come and simply scoop up all the fish they want.

This year, MOJ will parade on February 9 at 6:45 p.m. Their theme will be 40 and Fabulous: MOJ Salutes the Ladies of the 80s. The parade will include 10 floats, designed by Mark Calametti and built by Craig Stephens's Carnival Artists. Grand Marshals will be some of the original Board members. Costumes are by 3 Muses of Pensacola.

 Maids of Jubilee