Radiant Ruby 2016 Fourth of July Parade

A Radiant Ruby marches in the 2016 Fourth of July Parade.

The Radiant Rubies of Highland, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society, has been named parade marshal for the city’s Fourth of July Parade for its ever-present participation at city events and its enthusiastic support of many clubs and causes throughout the Highland community.

The city manager's office made the selection from a pool of individuals and organizations who are notable for their contributions to the Highland community.

According to the club’s vice queen, Empress Louise Clark, the club is made up of 23 women out to have fun. They plan to have a couple cars in the parade, which falls a five days before their club’s anniversary.

“I want to thank everybody. It’s truly a blessing and a tremendous honor,” Clark said about the club being named parade marshal.

Clark and Queen Marva Washington, members of service and fundraising clubs, started the Radiant Rubies in 2005 with the aim of creating for women a club that focused on having fun. Clark and Washington asked the city for permission to use “Highland” in the club’s name and established the club on July 9, 2005. They decided on a theme of royalty and titled their club officers accordingly, rather than using the traditional titles, such as “president” or “chair.”

Each member is also given a nickname, most of which are also royalty themed.

The club’s membership has remained consistent throughout its 16-year history. For the most part, the club is still made up of its founding members aside from a few members who have passed and a few additions.

Originally, membership was limited to women 50 years and older, but the club has since begun to accept women younger than 50. These members are called “pinkies,” and they wear pink and lavender rather than the traditional red and purple.

In those 16 years, the members have become close friends.

“We’re there for each other,” Clark said. “It’s a diverse club, and we just appreciate each other. We refer to each other as ‘our sisters.’”

In their fun, they bring a joyful energy to most community events in Highland, often supplying baked goods and other desserts.

They also host their own activities, which are often focused on expressing appreciation to Highland’s service clubs, public safety and city staff. Each Valentine’s Day they visit and deliver sweets to the police station, each of the fire stations, city hall and Highland Community News.

“We figure if we’re going to use the city’s name we’re going to do everything we can for its community,” Clark said.

According to Clark, the club has not met or attended an event in over a year and the women are excited to gather once again for a special occasion ⎯ this time, to lead the parade they have faithfully participated in for may years. (In fact, Radiant Ruby and former Highland mayor Jody Scott led in the organization of the city’s first Independence Day parade in 1990.)

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