Story by Lourice Angie
Local businesses, musicians and people of all ages participated in the celebration of the sixth annual “Mardi Gras for a Cause” event held in Warwick on Tues., Feb. 13. It was an evening of music, merriment, masks, and most importantly a tribute to the generosity and benevolence of the Warwick NY community.
Throughout the evening people packed local restaurants and bars and kept the downtown streets busy. People could be seen wearing Mardi Gras inspired clothing, beads and beautifully decorated masks representing the celebration colors of purple, green and gold.
“Mardi Gras for a Cause” was first dreamed up by a group of musicians in Warwick who wanted to celebrate their passion for music and their community. The Village of Warwick is very supportive of the arts and so it didn’t take long for an entire committee of musicians and volunteers to come together and turn a dream into a reality.
What is known to some as “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday, traditionally is a time to celebrate and eat well before the season of lent. It has become an annual event in Warwick and making for even more celebration was the fact that it fell on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
“Warwick is an incredible community! So many generous people, local restaurants, pubs, businesses, and seriously talented musicians, all supporting an exceptional local charity, Backpack Snack Attack, and having FUN! It doesn’t get any better than that for me. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler – Let the good times roll,” said John Desibia, event organizer and popular local musician.
Some of the local participating pub owners decorated their businesses with a mix of Mardi Gras and valentine hearts as they hosted live music, provided by 14 talented musicians and acts throughout the Village, all donating their time to the cause. Food, drink specials and games were offered and, with the help of 28 volunteers, the most ever to date, raffle tickets were sold for a chance to win a few great prizes.
The highlight of the evening was the Mardi Gras jam and dance party which took place at the Village Billiards this year. Musicians Jeremy Langdale and the Wray Band and Friends set the New Orleans mood, followed by the Petty Young Dylan Band who rocked the house and continued the celebration jam. The evening concluded with the 1989 Grammy Award winning Neil Young classic rock song, “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
The event was a great success, raising nearly $14,000 and counting this year. A special thanks to the Greenwood Lake School District, faculty and friends who made a generous $3,000 donation.
‘Backpack Snack Attack’ is the Cause
“Mardi Gras for a Cause” helps bring awareness and raise funds for the Backpack Snack Attack program, which in return provides food and snacks to the hungry and needy school children throughout the community every weekend when school meals are not available. The Backpack Snack Attack program was started in 2009 at the Warwick Reformed Church and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. All donations received are used to purchase the food, backpacks and supplies needed.
Shirley Puett, the founder of the Backpack Snack Attack Program, expressed her sincere gratitude to all of the supporters and generous contributors.
“Backpack Snack Attack is so grateful for the amazing support of the many restaurants and bands that freely gave of their time and talents to celebrate Mardi Gras and raise money for the children in Warwick Township who need food on the weekends. The community working together to help others in need is one of the reasons Warwick is such a great place to live. It was a fun night for all who came out to celebrate Mardi Gras! Thank you all,” said Puett.
Golden Raffle Ticket Winners
The winners of the golden raffle tickets were: first prize, Paul Schmid; second prize, Kelly Burkett; and third prize, Yesenia Jovine.
To become a volunteer at Backpack Snack Attack, call the church office at 986-4517, visit www.backpacksnackattack.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.