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Vibrant bunch

Good times rule the day at Oak Crest Red Hat get-togethers

Created date

July 31st, 2017
The Oak Crest Village Red Hot Foxes out on the town. (Seated, from left): Evelyn McGreal, Jane Krieger, Carol Mofran, and Mary Ann Manning. (Standing, from left): Janet Hare, Alice Gorby, Alice Kaspar, and Bettie Dragin.

The Oak Crest Village Red Hot Foxes out on the town. (Seated, from left): Evelyn McGreal, Jane Krieger, Carol Mofran, and Mary Ann Manning. (Standing, from left): Janet Hare, Alice Gorby, Alice Kaspar, and Bettie Dragin.

When Carol Mofran dons one of her favorite crimson-colored hats paired with a purple ensemble and heads out to dinner, she’s not worried about looking the least bit odd or outrageous. Carol knows she’ll be in good company when she meets the other members of the Village Red Hot Foxes, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society, one of America’s fastest-growing social organizations. 

Three years ago, Carol moved across the country from California to Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., where she joined the Village Red Hot Foxes. 

“I was involved with a red hat group for 15 years in California,” says Carol, queen mother of the Village Red Hot Foxes. “So as soon as I moved here, I joined the Oak Crest group. Being new to the community, it helped me meet people.” 

Inspired by Warning, a poem by Jenny Joseph that depicts an older woman wearing a red hat and purple clothing, Sue Ellen Cooper of Fullerton, Calif., informally founded the first Red Hat Society in 1998 with 18 of her friends. Since then, their motto of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness has been spreading across the world like wildfire with women age 50-plus. 

Today, the society has an estimated 50,000 members in more than 30 countries around the world with 161 chapters in Maryland alone.

A place to hang your hat

“I love the social aspect of the Red Hat group,” says Carol. “It’s been a great way to make friends. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, and we just have fun.”

Members, called Red Hatters, wear red hats and purple attire to all functions. Women under age 50 may become members, but they wear a pink hat and lavender attire to all events until reaching their 50th birthday and are referred to as Pink Hatters. “I own three red hats, which I alternate,” says Carol. “Two of them are smaller, and one is a purple straw hat with a big floppy brim that I covered with red netting.”

Oak Crest, centrally located just off the Baltimore Beltway and a stone’s throw from I-95, provides the Village Red Hot Foxes with an unlimited selection of restaurants from which to choose for their monthly get-togethers. 

Five restaurants and a private dining room are located on the campus itself, and Oak Crest’s Transportation Department makes getting to destinations like Carrabbas’ Italian Grill in Overlea and Silver Spring Mining Company on Belair Road in Perry Hall safe and easy.

The 15 members of the Village Red Hot Foxes take turns planning their outings. 

Girls just want to have fun

Evelyn McGreal was originally part of a Red Hat Society group that started in 2004 at Oak Crest and then merged with another red hat group to form the Village Red Hot Foxes. Evelyn keeps a scrapbook on the group’s history. 

“This group is not about volunteering or charity. Lots of us are involved in things like that outside the group. The goal of the Village Red Hot Foxes is to be a social outlet and just enjoy each other’s company. That’s all we do,” says Evelyn. 

Evelyn also has a variety of different red hats in her collection—one with a floppy wide brim, another that folds up easily for traveling, and a more casual red baseball cap. 

“One year, Walmart had a big clearance box with hats for $1 each,” says Evelyn. “I went through and bought every red hat they had and gave each member of our group one.” 

Evelyn says she never worries about what people think when they go out dressed in their red hats and purple attire; she just has fun with it. 

“I think most people are aware of the Red Hat groups and what they are all about,” says Evelyn. “When we walk into a restaurant, people usually say, ‘Look the Red Hats are coming!’”

For Carol, belonging to the Village Red Hot Foxes is more than just going out to lunch once a month, it’s about forming friendships and meeting new people who share the same interests. 

“I just love living at Oak Crest,” says Carol. “I’ve met so many nice people. I am so glad I moved; it’s just been wonderful. It’s the best place you could possibly live.”