There will be Dixieland, dinner and dancing when Wega Arts hosts its Mardi Gras Bash on Saturday, Feb. 18, in the historic Gerold Opera House.
"I've only been to New Orleans once, and I've never been to Mardi Gras, but I thought it would be really fun and colorful," said Kathy Fehl, who is the artistic director of Wega Arts.
Wega Arts is the non-profit organization that purchased the opera house in 2007, and since then, the group has made many updates to the opera house, while maintaining its historic charm.
Numerous events have been hosted, including concerts, plays, dances and last November, the first Weyauwega International Film Festival.
Fehl says they decided to have a Mardi Gras Bash to "break up the winter."
The opera house's doors will open at 6 p.m., with the event including a Cajun buffet by the Menasha Grill and live Dixieland music by the Swanee River Oriole Orchestra from Wisconsin Rapids.
Tickets are $25 and include dinner and the concert. There will also be a full cash bar featuring Hurricanes and Abita Beer.
Those who attend are encouraged to dress up for Mardi Gras. Beads and masks will be provided.
Tickets are available at The Coffee Klatsch in Weyauwega, The Book Cellar in Waupaca and online at www.wegaarts.org. The deadline for reservations is Feb. 14.
The event will not only be a way to chase away the winter doldrums but a way for Wega Arts to celebrate that it has a new boiler.
Just before the end of their 2010 season, their old boiler quit working. As a result, they were unable to hold events in the opera house last winter.
Wega Arts raised funds for a new boiler, and it arrived just in time for last November's film festival.
"So, we're celebrating that, too," she said.
Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, Feb. 21, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. In French, "Mardi Gras" means Fat Tuesday. That refers to the idea of eating rich, fatty foods before the Lenten ritual of fasting begins on the next day.
"We thought about doing it on Fat Tuesday," Fehl said, "But, we thought the weekend before would work better for everyone wanting to attend."
She explained how Menasha Grill came to be the restaurant they decided to work with for their event.
"Charlie (Cross) from the Menasha Grill is from Louisiana. He and his wife have been running the place for about 15 years. Their place had been recommended to us," she said.
Fehl said she and her husband Ian Teal visited the restaurant "to do some research, and we enjoyed it very much."
During the Feb. 18 Mardi Gras dinner, there will be Creole music, followed by the sounds of Dixieland.
"We'd like this to be an annual event," Fehl said.
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