Let’s Get Swanky!

Mardi Gras krewe hosts benefit


“Let’s Get Swanky!” is the call to action for the 2021 “Swanky Gala,” the benefit known for creative and funky evening attire. The Mystical Order of Aurora Mardi Gras organization is hard at work to make this the best event yet! Swanky Gala benefits Youth-Reach Gulf Coast, a Baldwin County faith-based residential program for young men struggling with addiction and other challenges.

Patrons at this year’s Aug. 21 party at The Port at The Wharf will dance the night away to the eight-piece band Jesse and the Jets, led by local headliner Jesse Duncan. Ginny Lane will cater a heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet. And partygoers will enter to win big prizes, bid on fabulous silent auction items and be in the running for the inaugural Best-Dressed Award.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique evening to raise money for a worthy cause,” said Donna Stump, Swanky Gala Chair and Auroras board member. “In 2019 and 2020 combined, we presented a check for $45,600 to Youth-Reach Gulf Coast, money raised through tickets, sponsorships, and auction proceeds from both years’ events,” Stump said. “This year we plan to raise more than ever thanks to our generous Baldwin and surrounding county residents and friends who come to the party.”

Youth-Reach Gulf Coast provides a long-term residential program for young men 18-22 who are struggling with addiction, promiscuity, rage and violence. Residents and their families pay nothing for the program, which relies on donations for income.

Swanky Gala tickets are $100 per person (+ Eventbrite fee) and are available at Eventbrite.com – search “Swanky Gala” -- and at this link: SWANKY. Sponsor/VIP tables of 10 are $1,300 and are available in limited numbers through Eva Keesee at (251) 979-4278 or evakeesee@gmail.com.

Swanky Gala is well known for encouraging creative evening attire.

“You’ll see tuxedo jackets combined with plaid shorts and flashing bowties,” said Eva Keesee, president of the Auroras. “We call it creative black tie, so wear your flashiest formalwear, your most colorful cocktail dress. Of course, our focus for everything is to raise money for this worthy organization, Youth-Reach Gulf Coast.”

Dance band Jesse and the Jets includes both male and female vocals, keyboard, horns, guitar, bass and drums. Band members have played together more than 15 years. You might recognize some of them as part of house band Triggerproof for Biloxi’s MGM Beau Rivage Casino and Resort. This full-of-energy band will keep attendees dancing all night with a mix of pop, rock and oldies.

Must be 21 to attend. No refunds.