Organizers of a promotional event Thursday night at Dillard’s department store in Independence were a little surprised when more than 60 area Red Hat Society members, known for their celebrations of age, turned out.

Queen Sandy Fluty said the attendance was evidence of how “Red Hatters like to party.”

The event featured all the trappings of a celebration, from treats, decorated with the society’s signature red and purple colors, to festive decorations. The queen of the Red Hat Flashes of Independence addressed a crowd that filled the aisles surrounding the shoe sales floor in the Independence Center store.

Society members, with chapters throughout the country, are known for supporting each other during hardships, but also revelling at celebrations that sometimes include impromptu dances in the aisles at conventions.

The local event grew out of an idea by Dillard’s employee Cheyenne Ryberg, of Independence, a member of Fluty’s chapter, who helped organize the event and served treats. Fluty addressed the crowd, who donned their best red regalia from boa-decorated hats to bejeweled shirts and blingy purses and said, gesturing to the crowd, “I talked to her (Cheyenne) about doing facials, and this is what happened.”

Shoe Department Sales Manager Christopher Spinola, of Kansas City, said he was “super-excited” as he watched the women line up for food and gift bags that included cosmetic samples and coupons for a free facial. Special discounted prices were available for those who shopped that evening. The store also offered drawings for prizes from gift baskets of sweet-smelling items to silver artisan jewelry and women’s clothing. Names were to be drawn and winners contacted this weekend, store associates said.

Red Hatters are those 50 and older but the clubs also recognize under-50s, who wear pink and lavender until they reach their 50th birthdays. During their birthday month, hatters are encouraged to wear a purple hat with red clothes.

For more information about joining the society, call Fluty at 816-836-2680.