Reno Rotarians and residents celebrated Fat Tuesday at the 27th Annual Reno Mardi Gras celebration at the Reno Ballroom. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Reno and benefiting the Reno Rotary Foundation, the event draws around 1500 revelers each year.
“Maria’s only been here for a hot minute, and so we’re breaking her in,” said Toni Harris of her friend Maria Doucettperry who moved to Reno about a year ago. A Rotarian and Reno Mardi Gras veteran, Toni brought two newbies with her this year.
Gerard Reyes of Carson City was gifted tickets to Reno Mardi Gras three years ago, and he’s been coming ever since. He has been joined by friend Banana Hooper, who comes for “the food, the drink, and the dressing up!”
In addition to food and beverages from Reno restaurateurs and cocktail mixers, the event featured music, dancing, and performances by aerial artists. Silent auctions and raffles tempted party goers all evening, with the wine raffle drawing the most attention. Participants contributed two bottles of wine, and those bottles were collected in wheelbarrows and raffled off. For a $20 raffle ticket, entrants got “a chance at winning approximately 7.5 cases of wine,” noted Debe Fennell, marketing manager for the Club.
Ann Melcher, one of the winners of a wheelbarrow of wine, reported spending $100 for 6 tickets. “For $100, it’s a really good deal, and it also supports a good cause,” Melcher said of her spoils.
Reno Mardi Gras is the single biggest fundraiser for the Reno Rotary Foundation, whose charitable efforts range from international efforts to eradicate polio to local support of youth arts and STEM programs. “Our members are so generous that it allows us to do so much in the community and globally,” noted Fennell. The Foundation donated more than $193,000 to charitable endeavors last year.