Besides the fact that attending the Calvert County United Way’s Mardi Gras on Saturday, March 7 at the Show Place Arena is just plain a good time, there are five compelling reason why people should attend the once-a-year extravaganza.

The first of which is the past chance of the year for attendees to dress up and dine at a glamorous gala alive with the scenes and cuisine of Louisiana. Artist Heather Maertens, staff of Top Hat Party Rental and the Mardi Gras committee design and transform the Show Place Arena from bare floor and bleachers to the colorful parading streets of New Orleans paved with storefronts, and a bayou-themed cocktail reception with trees draped in Spanish Moss and waiters touting “Swamp Juice.” Maryland Country Caterers delectable display of dishes from around the globe is enticing, and the visual spectacle of stilt walkers, magicians, dancers, artists and fortune tellers is reminiscent of a true Mardi Gras experience.
Another great reason is to listen to the live and sizzling jazz, zydeco and blues music of Baltimore-based band, Junkyard Saints, recent winner of the 2008 Award for Best Roots Rock Group by the Washington Area Music Association. The melting pot of authentic American music, performed by the Junkyard Saints, is sure to arouse clapping and rhythm from even the most inhibited of guests. Pair the music with free zydeco step dancing lessons provided by local zydeco aficionado Everard Johnson and friends, and you’ve got a package deal.
“A deal” is reason number three for attending Mardi Gras, specifically the pleasure of the hunt for bargain trips, spa packages, concert tickets, sports memorabilia, art and jewelry available at the silent auction. If you don’t mind rolling the dice, the live auction may prove a much-bigger payoff, with items such as a week-long trip to the Outer Banks and a Complete Room Makeover by TD Renovations up for bid. To get a sneak peak or to bid early for the auction, visit For those with little to spend and luck on their side, a $25 ticket at the Razzle Dazzle Raffle is a chance at winning $6,000 worth of hand-made jewelry, designer handbags, and more from Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts. All money raised by these purchases will benefit United Way of Calvert County.
If the message of hope and volunteerism from President Obama’s administration has inspired you, the fourth reason for attending Mardi Gras is to see it firsthand. Calvert County residents Mark Wilding, Mike Benton, Tommy Godbold, Patricia Snyder, Dixie Miller, and Maria Buehler straddled work, family, and six months of non-stop volunteer fundraising endeavors to improve the living conditions of those less fortunate in their community. Despite the difficult economic times, these six candidates in the race for King and Queen of Mardi Gras, coordinated more special events and publicity for United Way than in any year prior. Knowing this, guests of Mardi Gras can appreciate the Royal Crowning Ceremony, an annual tribute to the hard work and devotion of the candidates, which concludes with the crowning of the pair that raised the most money.