Warwick’s first annual Mardi Gras for a Cause exceeded all expectations.On Tuesday evening, Feb. 12, the night before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the Village of Warwick played host to its first annual Mardi Gras for a Cause.
For the most part, the lavish costumes and parades traditionally seen in New Orleans on Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” were not part of this year’s Warwick event. But nevertheless, almost 250 participants enjoyed the local celebration, which raised close to $6,000 – and still counting – for Back Pack Snack Attack.
The non-profit organization, named after the school children’s backpacks that volunteers fill, provides food on weekends and during the summer for nearly 300 needy children within the Warwick, Florida and Greenwood Lake Public School Districts. And 100 per cent of all donations to the program are used to purchase food and backpacks.
Mardi Gras for a Cause was an idea that originated with a group of local musicians from Warwick who wanted to be able to celebrate the arts and the community.
The three major goals of the Mardi Gras for a Cause Committee were to organize a unique event that all community members could enjoy, showcase local businesses and musicians and raise awareness and money for an important cause that directly affects the community.
The king and queen “We are extremely happy to be able to announce that we’ve accomplished all of these goals, and more,” said Committee Chair Allison Fox. “The turnout for the event surpassed our expectations and included a wide variety of participants from many different backgrounds.”
At the end of the evening a “grand finale” party featuring the “crowning” of the Mardi Gras King and Queen, Andre Adams and Gayle Donnelly, and the gold ticket raffle drawing was held at The Dautaj restaurant on Oakland Avenue.
“Considering our goal for the evening was only $1500, we are very pleased,” said committee member John Desibia. “We wanted to deliver more than we promised.”
Participating restaurants hosted musicians who performed free of charge and a percentage of earnings from the sale of food and beverages along with proceeds from the raffle were earmarked for Back Pack Snack Attack.
“On behalf of the first ever Mardi Gras for a Cause Committee,” said Fox, “I’d like to say thank you for helping us make this Inaugural event so successful-in the community, by the community, and for the community. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
The success of Mardi Gras for a Cause has prompted the committee to consider future events for fundraising such as the upcoming Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May), which is celebrated in the United States and parts of Mexico.