United Way of Calvert County’s 19th Annual Mardi Gras is right around the corner and year after year this fundraiser gala is 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 3, 2018 at Annmarie Garden Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland. Up until this date, six 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 “Around the World” and brings together carnival celebrations from Brazil to France to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.
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 Funkzilla fills the main room, while newcomer band Run Catch Rain adds a unique twist to our tented French Quarter Cafe. Guests can interact with magicians, fortune tellers, and belly dancers or have their faces painted like Mardi Gras masks before stepping inside the photo booth.
Guests can peruse the Bourbon Street Silent Auction and then place and track bids directly from their smartphones—tickets for the Maertens Fine Jewelry raffle (an annual favorite) will also be available for purchase via smartphone and at iPads stationed around the event. Back again this year, last minute voting for Mardi Gras King and Queen candidates will open up for a short period before the winners are announced at the evening’s crowning ceremony. Both voting and silent auction bidding will be open to those at home on the event website: unitedwaycalvert.org/mardi-gras.
Elegance by Maryland Country Caterers will be serving a true international feast, beginning with blackened alligator eggrolls, tuna tartar, and kale chip and curry cauliflower bites. Two full dinner buffets will feature “Caribbean Flare” or “European Classics” to include Jamaican jerk chicken, French tartiflette, and more. For a little more flavor, head upstairs to the balcony for street tacos and a tequila tasting.
As always, United Way of Calvert County is encouraging guests to plan for a safe ride home. Hilton Garden Inn and Holiday Inn in Solomons have set aside blocks of rooms that are still available at a reduced rate. Additional 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.
Purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or find candidate bios and links to giving pages where you can vote at unitedwaycalvert.org/mardi-gras. Contact United Way of Calvert County at (410) 535-2000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.