The good times rolled at last Tuesday night’s annual Mardi Gras party held by Goodwill Industries Manasota.
True N’awlins fun was transported south to Michael’s on East, where street performers, parade floats, masks and lots of beads added to the festivities.
The menu was authentic fare ranging from oysters Bienville and jambalaya to beignets and bananas Foster.
And the music was vintage New Orleans as well. Aaron Neville’s music director David Johnson was moonlighting as the bass player in the No Huddle Band.
Goodwill CEO Rev. Don Roberts wore an enormous strand of beads that could knock you unconscious if you missed catching them. And the man behind the authentic Mardi Gras mask and the tasty cuisine was restaurateur Michael Klauber, who completed some of his culinary training in New Orleans.
Three couples vied to be crowned king and queen of Mardi Gras, earned by the pair that raised the most money.
Matt and Margaret Callihan were this year’s royalty, besting Joseph Seidensticker and Tatyana Sharoubim and Danny Watts and Fondren Griffin.
They were crowned by last year’s king and queen, and this year’s party chairs, Adam Schiffman and Molly Klauber.
A large group from Manatee County came for the party. Outgoing Goodwill board chair Don Lawson and his wife, Lisa, and incoming board chair Rick Fawley and his wife, Coni, were in the crowd. Also seen were Rick Smith, John and Michelle McKay, Bill and Julie Galvano and Bob and Lauren Stanell.
Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.