United Way of Calvert County’s 18th Annual Mardi Gras is right around the corner and this fundraiser gala is proving to be an event you don’t want to miss! Mardi Gras is United Way of Calvert County’s largest fundraiser of the year, drawing over 350 guests from throughout Southern Maryland and raising upwards of $100,000. This year’s event will be held Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Annmarie Garden Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland. Up until this date, five candidates have worked for months to collect donations to support local programs that improve the education, health, financial stability, and basic needs of people living in Calvert County. Every dollar a candidate raises is a vote in their favor, leading them one step closer to their goal of being crowned Mardi Gras King and Queen. This year’s theme is a throwback to the event’s early days with a traditional Mardi Gras palette of purple, green, and gold while keeping with the more recent additions of gaming tables and the soulful sounds of two live bands.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted with beads and masks, in true Mardi Gras style. Cocktail hour allows guests time to explore the event’s many facets. The music of Moonshine Society fills the main room, while newcomer band Funkzilla adds a unique twist to our tented speakeasy lounge. Guests can interact with magicians, stilt walkers, and other strolling entertainers or have their faces painted like Mardi Gras masks before stepping inside the photo booth.
This year’s event will allow guests an even more mobile experience than before. Not only can guests peruse the Bourbon Street Silent Auction and then place and track bids directly from their smartphones—tickets for the Razzle Dazzle Raffle will also be available for purchase via smartphone and at iPads stationed around the event. The Razzle Dazzle Raffle, a favorite among long-time guests, lets one grand prize winner take home roughly $8,000 in jewelry and accessories donated by Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts. Guests can also look forward to a new way to participate in the evening’s festivities via smartphone, however this surprise announcement will only be made the night of. For these reasons and more, guests are encouraged to bring a fully-charged phone to Mardi Gras.
Elegance by Maryland Country Caterers will be serving a true New Orleans style feast, beginning with roasted pork belly sliders, lemon cress potstickers, and crawfish popcorn with roasted garlic butter. Blackened cilantro lime skirt steak and pasta with alligator sausage are just a few options for the main course in addition to the “Seafood Market” station, featuring three types of fish and Mardi Gras slaw. Top off the evening with a crème brulee shooter, dark chocolate ganache cup, or Irish coffee from the whiskey tasting on the upper level.
As always, United Way of Calvert County is encouraging guests to plan for a safe ride home. Hilton Garden Inn in Solomons has set aside a block of rooms that are still available at a reduced rate. Parking is available at the Hilton, with a shuttle available to all Mardi Gras guests. Southern Maryland Uber drivers will be accessible all evening via the Uber app, as well.
Buy tickets, sponsor the event, or vote for your favorite candidate all online through unitedwaycalvert.org! For more information, contact United Way of Calvert County directly at (410) 535-2000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.