Have you ever wondered why the evening dinner event is on a Tuesday? It's Fat Tuesday of course.
With a straight face, Garry Lubi, president of the Flagler County Education Foundation, told a small group in the Halifax Plantation dining room, “I turned on the TV this morning and the Today Show led with an announcement about our event tonight.”
“Our fund raising goal this year was $14,000, and with the turnout I think we will make it.” MARDI GRAS Chair, Cat Evans
Lubi was referring to the 13th annual FCEF Mardi Gras fundraiser for Flagler Schools, the Today Show hosts were undoubtedly referring to THE Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The timing of the local event is intentional, and emphasized a few years ago, when the board considered changing the venue to a different location. The deal breaker was the date.
“They wanted us to do it on a Saturday night,” Nancy Carlton, past event chair and member of the committee, recalled. “The board voted 'no' unanimously. We had to keep it on Tuesday, because it's Fat Tuesday, and that has been such a draw.”
Festivities started at the door where guests were greeted by School Superintendent Jacob Oliva, wearing oversized, dollar sign glasses, and a hat covered in money, as he sold 50/50 tickets. Melissa Holland won the $700 drawing, but she wasn't the big winner, the students were, when she donated her winnings back to the education foundation.
The annual Flagler event was being hailed as a success before the desert was served. Cat Evans, this year's event chair said there were 192 confirmed guests.
“Our fund raising goal this year was $14,000, and with the turnout I think we will make it,” Evans said.
In an email the morning after the event, Evans, said the event had raised nearly $16,000.
The guests, most decked out in feather boas, glittery masks, and beads, posed for photos in front of Mardi Gras themed cutout, and visited the “gambling rooms” filled with slot machines, a roulette wheel, and craps and card tables.
Nan Reid, Sandra Haines, Marilyn Gingles, and Margaret Subers, quickly settled onto the raised stools at the Black Jack table.
“This is the only time I play,” Haines said. “I won't play with real money.”
Although it's an established annual event, preparation starts months before.
“We started planning this in October,” Evans said. “One of the great things about this event is it's one that everybody enjoys and comes again and again, and tells their friends. They know it's for a good cause and that everything stays local to help our local schools through grants and scholarships.”