Story by Lourice Angie
Musicians, business owners and people of all ages came together on Tues., Feb. 28 for the 5th annual “Mardi Gras for a Cause” event in the Town of Warwick. The event brings awareness and raises funds for the Backpack Snack Attack program, which provides food for hungry school children to eat at home every weekend, when school meals are not available.
The program, which was started in 2009 at the Warwick Reformed Church, is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. All donations received are used to purchase food, backpacks and supplies needed. To become a volunteer, call the church at 986-4517, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.backpacksnackattack.com.
Turning a Dream into a Reality
The traditional New Orleans-style Mardi Gras celebration was first dreamed up by a group of musicians from Warwick who wanted to celebrate their passion for music and their community. Being that Warwick is very supportive of the arts, it did not take long for an entire committee of musicians and community members to come together and turn that dream into a reality.
What is known to some as “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday and traditionally a time to celebrate and eat well before the season of Lent, has become an annual event in Warwick. Local participating restaurant and pub owners hosted live music, offered food and drink specials, played games and raffled prizes.
In addition, people could be seen wearing Mardi Gras-style beads and beautifully decorated masks representing the colors of Mardi Gras – purple, green, and gold.
‘Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler’ (Let the Good Times Roll)
Fetch Bar and Grill jammed out to live music by Ken Flood and Acoustic Nailed Shutt. Fetch also ended the evening of celebration by offering breakfast at midnight.
The Warwick Wine Garden and Piano Bar celebrated by offering New Orleans-infused drink and food specials, accompanied by live jazz music performed by Mike Purcell and Robert Kopec.
Yesterdays celebrated Fat Tuesday with music by guest performers, Paul Binotto and Pat Corcaran. Halligan’s Pub offered live music by featured performers OC5. Caffe a la Mode provided something for everyone with an “under 21” open mic night, hosted by Jim Elwell and Gene Focarelli. The turnout was one of the best to date.
Railroad Ave. boasted three participating restaurants. Blarney Station hosted live original music by Hidden Rivers and Grappa Ristorante brought New Orleans jazz to town with live music by David Crone and the New Orleans Jazz Quartet. La Piazza celebrated with special guests Frank “F Bomb” Sorino and the bomb squad.
Village Billiards rocked all night with live performances by Jeremy Langdale and Friends, Gayle Donnelly, Red Beans and Rice Feat, Debbie Fisher Palmarini and Al Muller, Patty Gordon and the Twenty/20 Band and the Mardi Gras Jam. The Petty Young Dylan Band wrapped up the night with their amazing renditions of rock and roll music favorites. Raffle Prize winners were also announced at midnight at the pool hall.
John Desibia, the organizer of the fifth Mardi Gras for a Cause, announced that the event raised over $10,000 for the Backpack Snack Attack program. Shirley Puett, the founder of the program, expressed her sincere gratitude to all of the supporters and everyone who generously contributed to the fundraiser.
A special thanks goes out to all 12 acts and bands, which included 48 performers, 23 open mic performers, Mardi Gras review host Jeremy Langdale, and sound man extraordinaire Will Orosz, the nine participating restaurants and pubs and their staff, and all 26 of the host volunteers who contributed to the celebration. A special recognition goes out to entertainment sponsor, Truform Media Group, for their top tier financial support which helped make the event so successful. A very special thanks goes out to Jeff Alario and Associates. ShopRite, Warwick Press, Signarama, FriYo, Alto Music, and Mary Lantiegne for their generous support and kind donations.