Da' RavHons steal hearts with purple pride to spare
By By Allison Eatough
For The Baltimore Sun|
Nov 19, 2014 at 2:23 PM
By workday, Lauren Mueller is an engineering technician at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
But by game day, the Baltimore Ravens fan transforms into “Crabby Patty,” an archetypal Baltimore hon.
“Welcome to Bawlmer, hon!” she says as she greets thousands of Ravens and opposing team fans outside M&T Bank Stadium while donning a blond beehive wig, pink flamingo glasses and a crab necklace.
Mueller, a Perry Hall resident, is founder of da’ RavHons, a growing group of women who dress as Ravens-themed hons at every home football game and at community events.
“For we hons, we love what we do,” Mueller says.
Mueller is a member of Harford County Ravens Nest No. 1, a Bel Air-based social and charitable club that supports Baltimore’s NFL team. She began dressing as a hon at home games in 2009 to honor working women from her past and present, she says.
“Our mothers and grandmothers,” she says, “they were nurses, teachers, seamstresses, waitresses and moms who take care of their families.”
But it wasn’t until September 2013 that da’ RavHons formed.
Mueller has long supported Matt “Fan Man” Andrews and the Bus Boys, fellow members of Ravens Nest No. 1 who dress head to toe in purple, black and gold and arrive at Ravens games and community events in a purple, Ravens-themed bus.
So when Andrews and the Bus Boys asked if she’d like to join them in the annual Bel Air Christmas parade, Mueller and several other Ravens Nest women jumped at the chance.
Wearing big, heavy wigs and holiday-style hon outfits, the women marched alongside the Bus Boys. The crowd immediately fell in love with them, Andrews says.
“It was really magic,” he says. “Everybody in Baltimore loves the hons. And here they were. True hons.”
Today, the group has expanded to seven members.
At a recent meeting inside Main Street Tower restaurant in Bel Air, da’ RavHons members discussed their outfits, backstories and hair for the 2014-15 football season.
Deb Galoni’s hon persona, Natalie Boh, works at the National Bohemian brewery. She typically wears leopard pants and beer-cap earrings, while Melanie Copper, also known as June Cleavage, wears 4-inch heels, tight tops and short skirts.
“She’s a kind of Baltimore Peggy Bundy,” Galoni says of Copper’s hon character, referring to the rough-around-the-edges role played by Katey Sagal in the television comedy “Married… With Children.”
Tressa Andrews wears a necklace made from empty McCormick spice containers to reflect her Mary “Spicy” McCormick alter ego. Barbara Michael’s character, Divine Waters (named in homage to Baltimore filmmaker John Waters), wears a purple boa and pearls to every event. In the winter, she wears a full-length leopard coat.
“Divine, she’s more sophisticated than us,” Mueller says.
Each member also has a personalized Ravens jersey with her hon name on the back.
As for the hair, Copper says members have two styles to choose from: parade hair and battle hair.
“Parade hair is big,” she says. “Battle hair is game-day hair. It’s a lower version. … You’ve got to keep your hair down at games so nobody grabs it.”
“And so it doesn’t obstruct anyone’s view,” Galoni adds.
Da’ RavHons attend every home tailgate together, socializing with fans near M&T Bank Stadium’s Lot N. Then, about an hour and a half before game time, they head over to the main gate to greet fans as they arrive.
“That’s when you really get into your persona,” Galoni says. “The opposing team fans like to get photos with us. We’re like a Baltimore landmark.”
Da’ RavHons also participate in parades throughout the year and Ravens Nest charity events, including the annual Bud Bitzer Scholarship Awards Golf Tournament and the annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.
“No matter where they go, people love them,” Andrews says. “They’re just like a magnet.”
And da’ RavHons’ affection for their team hasn’t dampened despite the indefinite suspension of former running back Ray Rice because of domestic violence. Mueller declined to comment on the suspension, but she says da’ RavHons still love and support the team.
“We love our Ravens because John Harbaugh and the entire organization are appreciative and wonderful with the fans, just like the Colts were,” she says.
They credit the Ravens and Ravens Nest No.1 for bringing them together.
“We’re all sisters now,” Copper says.
But more importantly, being part of da’ RavHons allows members to share something they love while helping others, Mueller says.
“Growing up around Patterson Park, our mothers and grandmothers gave with their hearts and souls to not only their own families, but to others, and expected nothing in return except a smile,” Mueller says. “It’s our pleasure to carry on the tradition.”