The great part is that it’s right here in Talladega County, and this year’s Mardi Gras Gala and Art Auction will be Antique Talladega’s 25th, marking the silver anniversary for the fundraiser.
The party starts at 6 p.m. March 1 at the Speedvision Dome next to Talladega Superspeedway, where the event was relocated after outgrowing its first location the very first year it was held.
“We were prepared for about 300 people, and had to find seating for about 20 more that first year,” said Bill McGehee, one of the founders of the event as well as Antique Talladega, which formed to restore Talladega’s Ritz Theatre as the state of the art performing arts center it is today.
Since that first year in 1989, the local Mardi Gras event has grown to one that attracts more than 500 supporters each year and has expanded its reach to participants from Talladega and beyond.
This year also includes the extreme culinary talents of Classic on Noble, whose catering staff will provide all the expected best of the best in food fare, said Boyd McGehee, one of the event organizers.
“I want everyone to know we’ll have everything they could expect and much more,” he said. “From an Apalachicola oyster bar and Mardi Gras salad and all that goes with it to our fantastic hurricane machine.”
This year’s extra energy dance band is Simply Tayo of Atlanta, who will arrive with a playlist of everything from your favorite rock classics and soul selections to present day hits and everything in-between.
Lead singer Tayo Reed has served as a judge for the television hit X Factor and has a huge list of top performers she has provided vocals with, McGehee said.
The art event will include the traditional silent auction with pieces from dozens of artists, from paintings and sculptures to collectibles and plenty of other pieces, said Tommy Moorehead, who heads up the art event.
He, along with artist Lila Graves and some surprise “others” who will provide the live arts event when painters take to their easels on site to create brand new art for the live auction.
Tickets will be $85 per person again this year and may be reserved by visiting the website talladegamardigras.com
Antique Talladega’s Mardi Gras 2014 will include the tradition of its Mardi Gras Parade, and the line-up welcomes people and pets, motorcycles and Shriners and all kinds of other fun.
“We’re the only Mardi Gras Parade that has real Moon Pies and throws beads,” McGehee said.