Let the good times roll at the Mead Cultural Education Center’s Mardi Gras Masquerade.
On Saturday, Feb. 29, from 7-11 p.m., the Mead will host its first Mardi Gras event to raise funds for the museum.
Attendees are encouraged to adorn themselves in Mardi Gras shades of green, purple and gold and in Mardi Gras regalia, including masks, which, though fun, is not required, Executive Director Crystal Nelson told the Press & Dakotan.
Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and is the traditional last-blast celebration before Ash Wednesday, during which Catholics would traditionally indulge in all the things that would be forbidden or given up for Lent.
These days, Mardi Gras is a big party for everyone who wants to participate. The best-known Mardi Gras celebration is in New Orleans and serves as the inspiration for the Mead’s event.
“It’s a masked ball,” Nelson said. “Everybody gets the chance to dress up. If they have that fancy bridesmaid’s dress they haven’t worn since the wedding 10 years ago that still fits, this would be the perfect event to bring it out.”
Attendees could come in their Sunday best — or not. The attire is just an idea for people, she said.
Mardi Gras-themed food and desserts created by Counterfeit Catering will be offered during the evening, including blackened shrimp cocktail, crawfish hot dip, andouille-sausage-and-sweet-pepper skewers, and bread pudding cups with rum sauce.
There will also be a cash bar and silent auction.
“The silent auction items will be unique,” Nelson said. “The people that are doing the baskets for us are going above and beyond what they would normally do because they are great supporters of the Mead Cultural and Education Center.”
Music will be brought by Mike Hilson and Jay Gilbertson of Mike & Jay, who are already known around town for their unplugged performances. However, for the Mardi Gras event, they will bring the Austin Buescher Band, and will be plugged, amped and ready to bring the excitement of New Orleans music to their audience.
“For this, we have a great bass player from Sioux City, Eddie Dunn, and a drummer from Vermillion, Darin Wadley, that play with us,” said Jay Gilbertson. “They know all these great jazz tunes, so we can start out with the cool jazz tunes, then we’ll play some blues tunes and then we’ll play some New Orleans music also.”
The beat of the drums should give attendees a good feel of New Orleans music, he said.
“We could do it acoustically, but it wouldn’t have the presence that a four-piece band does,” Gilbertson said.
The event is a fundraiser, but in a beautiful atmosphere, complete with an authentic early 20th century marble staircase and foyer.
“It’s such a beautiful building and we are still new in our location,” Nelson said. “We wanted to offer an event that may bring in a group of people that may not normally come, and for our members to reach out to friends and family and bring a group to enjoy the atmosphere.
The building has the perfect ambiance to support a formal event like this, she said.
“You just can’t beat the pictures you get from it,” Nelson said. “The whole event is just such fun.”
For tickets and information, contact the Mead Museum and Cultural Center at (605) 665-3898.