The 2014 PRAD Parade featured several of the 2015 candidates for King and Queen of Mardi Gras, alongside the reigning the reigning King, Chris Moore.

In its 16th year, United Way of Calvert County’s gala fundraiser Mardi Gras is back to its traditional format of three king and three queen candidates vying for the coveted title of Mardi Gras King and Queen. Each candidate is challenged to raise at least $10,000 in their campaign to help United Way of Calvert County meet its overall $100,000 goal. The winning candidates will be crowned at the French Quarter-inspired gala on the evening of Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Annmarie Garden Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland.

The race for King and Queen took off early this year with appearances aboard a Mardi Gras-themed float at the 2014 Patuxent River Appreciation Day parade in Solomons, and a number of fundraisers including a sportsmen’s raffle, poker tournament, crab feast and a holiday bazaar. The competition for Mardi Gras crown is both “friend-raiser” and fundraiser. Mardi Gras candidates raise funds for United Way of Calvert County through special events, letter-writing campaigns, and sponsor solicitations. But they also inform their circle of friends and family on the organization’s role in supporting local programs that improve the education, financial stability and health of people living here. “Our candidates are out in the community as ambassadors for the United Way and they are developing key relationships for the future of our organization. We are truly grateful for their time and commitment,” says President & CEO of United Way of Calvert County, Kelly Chambers.

This year’s Mardi Gras queen candidates are (in alphabetical order by last name): Veronica Alston of Lusby, Founder & CEO of Ruth’s Miracle Group Home Foundation; Stephanie Corley of Port Republic, Realtor for ReMAX 100; and Cindy Dinan of Huntingtown, General Manager of Maryland Trust Title & Escrow, LLC.  Mardi Gras king candidates include (in alphabetical order by last name): Eric Faughnan of California, Owner of Kingfisher’s Restaurant; Ben Krause of Prince Frederick, Park Technician for Kings Landing Park; and Dave Payne of Port Republic, Lieutenant for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office.

Every dollar a candidate raises is a vote in their favor, leading them one step closer to their goal. Candidates have links to giving pages where you can vote and information about their upcoming events at www.unitedwaymardigras.com. Contact United Way of Calvert County at (410) 535-2000 or e-mail uwadmin@unitedwaycalvert.org for more information.