The summer heat relinquished just in time for the 5th Annual WTLC Mardi Gras in July fundraiser that took place last Saturday evening. The Museum Plaza on Wilshire Ave. was transformed from a bland sea of taupe concrete to a vibrant and colorful, purple and gold homage to New Orleans’ Jackson Square.
Those who attended the event were welcomed with a stilt-walker, jugglers, and the musical sounds of Bonne Musique Zydeco. The $25 ticket provided this entertainment and more; a fortune teller, henna tattoo artist, door prizes and silent auction (with items such as a dinner with the Chief of Police, and a Fender Squire guitar signed by U2) were also part of the evening that raised $10,000 for the Fullerton nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families escape the depths of domestic violence and exploitation.
The crowd cheered as Fullerton local Jon Garcia was proclaimed the winner in the pie-eating contest. Guests (save possibly the other pie-eating contestants) warmed their bellies with a “taste of New Orleans”: Local restaurants and food vendors, such as Bourbon Street and The Olde Ship, provided tasty bowls of gumbo, crawdads, creamed corn, sausages and more.
The beer, wine and hurricanes also kept bidders smiling and couples dancing. Vendors selling jewelry, clothing and other various trinkets were also on site, adding to the ambiance of the night.
Local small business owners, Jeremy Newhouse and Morgan McLaughlin, were crowned King & Queen of Mardi Gras, having been the lucky couple to find the plastic babies baked into the Mardi Gras cakes. After being crowned and robed, they rode in a Mardi Gras Chariot (read: purple and gold decorated golf cart) throwing bead necklaces to the cheering crowd.
Councilman Bruce Whitaker and wife Linda were in attendance for their first time, to have a little fun. “The music was great and the food was in keeping with the festival,” said Linda. “Everyone there was in a festive mood. The fact that it was for the WTLC made it that much better.” Their support paid off since they were the lucky winners of the trip to New Orleans that they will us as their gift to each other for their 25th wedding anniversary later this year.