LAHAINA - The Royal Lahaina Resort's oceanfront lawn will be festooned for a Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. when the Rotary Club of Lahaina hosts its Sweetheart Affair scholarship benefit.
This year's theme is "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler," or "Let the Good Times Roll." The public is invited.
Now in its 21st year, Rotary's Valentine's Weekend celebration will feature New Orleans-style food, drink and entertainment.
Rotary “Sweetheart” Emalee Cabading displays the poster inviting all to the Rotary Club of Lahaina’s annual Sweetheart Affair Valentines party on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Royal Lahaina Resort. Cabading is one of 14 Maui County scholars to receive a Rotary scholarship last year from funds raised at this annual event.
Club Community Chair Liz Bell said that Rotarians have lined up live music from the six-piece jazz and blues band Slam - which packs them in at Stella Blues once a week in Kihei - and vocalist Kelly Covington will join the group for the evening.
Slam's David Choy is one of Hawaii's most sought-after and recorded saxophonists. He has traveled the world with his music, touring with artists such as The Doobie Brothers and Michael McDonald.
Covington, originally from New York with music ties to San Francisco, is well-known on Maui among jazz and blues aficionados. She has lived and entertained here since 1982.
Bell, who heads marketing at the Royal Lahaina Resort, said chefs at the resort will be "kicking it up a notch" for the event with New Orleans favorites, including gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, blackened catfish, and red beans and rice. The menu will be topped off with New Orleans-style beignets and Louisiana bread pudding.
The featured drink for the evening will be the infamous Hurricane presented by Young's Market from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This red, fruity cocktail - created during World War II and made famous by the New Orleans establishment Pat O'Brien's - features rum, grenadine and fruit juices served in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp.
Cash bars serving soft drinks, beer, wine and cocktails will also be available throughout the evening.
Rotarians seek auction items from businesses to be featured at the event.
"This Mardi Gras event promises more than a great time," said Eric van Ketel, Rotary Club of Lahaina president.
"Proceeds support college scholarships for Lahaina area students. The more people who join us to enjoy this evening, the more we are able to help local students."
Some funds will be contributed to the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Visitor Industry Charity Walk - an event that supports many Maui County non-profits.
Last year, the Lahaina Rotary Youth Foundation Scholarship Fund supported college scholarships for 14 Maui County scholars, including Emna Cheyma Baccar, Malia Hodson Moore, Kaila Nip, Brynne Johnson, Stephen Adolfson, An An Hua, Johnley Agbayani and Emalee Jane Cabading from Lahainaluna High School; Sarafina Huck, Dino DeSalvio, Devyn Torres and Caitlyn Fisler from Maui Preparatory Academy; Chelsea Sakamoto from Molokai High School; and Nishae-Marie Niimi from Lanai High School.
The Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler celebration starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $75 each or $650 for a VIP table of ten. Call 808-661-3611 to reserve tickets or www.royallahaina.com/mardigras for more information.