Top 5 Parties of Emmett and Edwina Barnes



Throughout the 1980’s, Emmett and Edwina Barnes' home at 1386 Waverland Drive was perhaps the most talked about residence in Middle Georgia.  The social landmark, situated on 23 acres in the quiet Shirley Hills neighborhood, underwent many renovations and additions, each one more extravagant than the last.  By the late 80’s the residence had grown to 27,000 square feet.   During the 1980’s, the Barnes’ residence was the site for some of the most ostentatious private parties ever held in the south.  The Waverland Drive residence was also the elaborate backdrop for many benefits for local charities, including Edwina’s enduring crusade to revive the Macon Humane Society.  Edwina loved to host parties and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution once called her “the hostess with the mostest; the Perle Mesta of Macon.”  Dozens of themed parties were orchestrated and hosted by the Barnes’, and many of those parties are still talked about to this very day. 

Here are our Top 5 favorites.

1.  The gypsy party

Invitations for this party pictured Mrs. Barnes wearing a turban and golden earrings as her husband Emmett’s head levitated between two globes of light.  Two authentic gypsy wagons were installed on the front lawn for invited guests to view as they entered the party.  Native, fortune telling gypsies who sang around a campfire were brought in from New Orleans for this party that included over 600 costumed guests and one live chicken.

2.  the egyptian party

Complete with specifically designed and constructed sets, the Egyptian party invitation advised guests to dress as pharaohs and goddesses.  On the grounds, guests strolled past life sized camels as they entered the party through a pyramid that was erected in front of the residence.  Guests were entertained by Middle Eastern dancers and even Mrs. Barnes herself did a belly dance that ended in a thunderous ovation that brought the house down.

3.  Victorian Christmas party

For the Barnes’ 1980 Victorian Christmas party, invitees were encouraged to attend donned in Victorian period costumes and upon their arrival, were escorted to the residence in horse drawn carriages that carried them up the beautifully manicured driveway that was lined with over 500 luminaries.  Located on the back of the residence grounds was a constructed Victorian village that beautifully displayed the frontage of 3 two-story Victorian homes.  The fabricated Victorian Village was surrounded by mannequins dressed as Christmas carolers and an ornately decorated Christmas tree.  Man made snow was brought in and the snow fell over the entire Victorian scene.  The evening offered up guests period delicacies such as wassail bowls and warm punch.  As with Victorian Christmas customs, guests brought ornaments and decorated a Christmas tree.

4.  1950's Party

1991 brought Mrs. Barnes’ 50th Birthday. To celebrate her birthday a ‘50s themed party that was held in honor of Macon’s own “hostess with the mostest.”  Music from the Belmonts combo played rock ‘n’ roll and the entertainment also featured an Elvis impersonator.  By the 90’s, Emmett and Edwina Barnes’ parties had become quite notorious and had gained so much notoriety that the party included over 1,000 guests. 

5.  COUNTRY AND WESTERN PARTY

Mrs. Barnes attended her country and western themed party in a “simple cowgirl outfit that was made of white satin that accompanied sequined leather chaps.  The country and western party was attended by many Middle Georgians and included a Nashville band and a barbecue dinner.

honorable mention

Roaring Twenties Birthday Party for Emmett Barnes, III