Expanded Mardi Gras Results in $8,000 for Community Projects
Last updated 6/26/2019 at 1:51pm
The Lake Wales Mardi Gras committee is celebrating its best year ever, with the expanded event resulting in $8,000 in donations for community projects.
Committee Vice President Denny Wittman said the 2019 Mardi Gras drew an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 parade watchers. The festival, which was moved to Lake Wailes Park, attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees Friday night and an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 on Saturday.
"Moving the Festival to the Lake was a huge success with all positive feedback that we heard," Wittman said. "It also opened the festival up to families and more people. The previous "Beer Garden" location was not family friendly nor could it hold very many people."
Wittman and Mardi Gras President Joshua Curchy presented checks of $3,000 to Circle of Friends Ministry to underwrite its summer camp program and $5,000 to Victory Ridge Academy to help with renovations on their new building. Circle of Friends provides a caring place and variety of programs to help adults with special needs reach independence in society. Victory Ridge is a local charter school that provides children and adolescents with exceptional needs intensive, collaborative classroom-based educational and therapeutic interventions to promote independence, academic success and community inclusion for all students.
"Mardi Gras had its best year ever and we were able to give back far more than Mardi Gras has ever given away before," Wittman said. "The normal donation for years past was $500, if anything was given back at all."
The Mardi Gras has been held annually since 1984. The committee plans to expand the 2020 event, scheduled for Feb. 21-22, and hopes to be able to increase its fundraising to give back to the community.
The 2019 sponsors included Weikert Ford Inc., Forni Dental & Associates, Curchy Design, Action Signs & Advertising, Lake Wales Medical Center, Ashley Marston Croley - State Farm Insurance Agent, Christina Richards - State Farm Agent, Bernie Little Distributors Budweiser, Lake Wales Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Edward Jones - Financial Advisor: Michele E. Ouellette, Kent Lilly, Republic Services, Jahna Chiropractic, LLC, and Real Estate Title Services.