The Edgartown Yacht Club’s gala festivity of the year took place Friday night at the club when children from 10 to 18, and an even greater number of adult spectators, gathered for the annual fancy dress ball. Carrying out the theme of Denizens of the Deep in Fact and Fiction, the decorations, painted by Ruth Appledoorn Mead’s art class, consisted of flat models of fish and other sea animals hung from the ceiling and adorning the walls. Balloons were also strung above the dance floor.

The party for the younger children began at 8 o’clock. This group turned out in greater numbers than their older sisters and brothers, and showed a greater variety of striking costumes. The first act, coached by Mrs. Edward Childs, the program chairman, was The Mermaids and the Penguins, eight girls, who executed several dance routines to modern tunes, accompanied by Robert C. Hufstader. The four mermaids, in glittering green, were Louise Todd, Bonnie King, Sandra Webster and Eleanor Childs. The four penguins, in stuffed black suits and beaked hoods, were Sheila Maynard, Suzy Johnston, Patsy Todd and Lucinda Childs.

The second skit was a melodramatic-musical opera called The Ship on Fire and coached by Mrs. Frank Farrar. This act, which drew laughter and applause, included a sea storm, a shipwreck, a fire and a rescue, with appropriate nautical props. Miss Grace Farrar and Dave Wells played the leads and sang solos and duets. Mr. and Mrs. Hufstader sang the musical background to the melodrama, and Mrs. Helen Windsor served as pianist. Donald Vose played the part of the captain and the three sailors were Peter Hufstader, John Farrar and Robin Windsor.

Dave Wells caused a small riot of laughter among the audience with a superb piece of unconscious comedy. Dave had a cue sheet hidden in his straw hat, and when he removed the hat for a timely gesture, the piece of paper remained on the top of his head. He replaced the hat, but when he removed it again the paper fell off and fluttered away. The sound technicians forgot to stop their thunder in time, adding another comic note.

After the grand march at 9:30, Carroll Meeks, the master of ceremonies, announced the decision of the judges, who were Commodore E. J. Bliss Jr., A. Turner Wells, Benjamin B. Cain and Mrs. Mead. The male members of the jury were saltily attired in sailors’ costumes with mop-beards of various colors. Sue Johnston won the prize for the most beautiful girl, with a costume made of scallop shells. Harvey L. Williams Jr., as a deep-sea diver, was the handsomest boy, and the most humorous boy’s award went to Morton Fearey Jr., as a lobster.

The most humorous girl was Janet Wells, who called her invention Low Tide. The most original boy and girl were Rensselaer Lee, a Breton sailor, and Deidra Wallin, as a lighthouse, which drew much comment because of its inventiveness. The group prize for the younger group was won by the Arlen girls, as Three Shades of Coral, with hats and dresses covered with branches of coral in pink, red and yellow. A special honorable mention award was presented to Penelope Moffat and Diane LeRoy. Two groups, South Beach, and Pamela and Marillys Wallin, as a red nun and a black nun, won honorable mention prizes in the younger group.

At 10:30 two more skits were presented. The penguins and mermaids gave another exhibition of their dancing, a ballet this time. Francis Russell played a fisherman in the next act, and after tossing back several catches he hooked a mermaid, Louise Todd, and carried her away in his cart.

At 11 o’clock the older group promenaded and Mr. Meeks announced the second group of prize winners. Donna Webster, a pearl, was the most beautiful girl, and Charles King, a bass derby fisherman, was the handsomest boy. The prizes for the most humorous girl went to Phyllis Norton, who impersonated a mooring. F. Gordon Brown Jr., dressed as a tune-a-fish, won the most humorous boy’s award. Freddy Reynolds, a diver, was the most original boy, and Ann Tipton, in the costume of a sea-urchin, was judged the most original girl. The group prize went to a pirate and his sea chest, Peter Randolph and Sandy Bramhall.

The dance continued until after midnight, when the balloons were released. A good many of them were burst in the scramble, and some floated out to sea. One young man contributed an impromptu show by removing all but a single piece of his clothing and diving off the pier to rescue a girl’s balloon. When interviewed after his heroic swim he said he was feeling no pain at all.