Big Brothers Big Sisters Charity Gala

By: Joanna Arpie

This weekend, ditch your sensible scarf for plastic bead necklaces, because Mardi Gras is coming to Boston. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay is hosting its annual Big Night Gala charity bash this Saturday, January 22, at the Boston Convention and Expo Center. The theme of this year’s event is?guessed it?Mardi Gras, meaning the convention center will get a Bourbon Street makeover, complete with live jazz, Cajun food, and plenty of Fat Tuesday?appropriate drinks to go around.

More than a thousand guests are expected to attend the event, which kicks off at 6 p.m. with a “Hurricanes and Concoctions” cocktail hour. Reggae fusion band Michael Franti & Spearhead will perform, and Grammy-winning New Orleans funk group the Neville Brothers will keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning. The menu will include traditional Creole foods prepared by local celeb chefs, including Alta Strada’s Michael Schlow and Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Café. Costumes are highly encouraged?think feathers, masks, bright colors, and as many sequins as humanly possible.

This year’s Big Night is the 12th hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. Since 1998, the event has raised $20 million to benefit the organization, which provides more than 3,500 youths with adult mentors. This year’s gala alone is expected to raise upward of one million dollars.

Tickets aren’t cheap ($1,000 for an individual ticket and up to $10,000 for a group), but since it’s a fundraiser for a great cause, that’s hardly the point. Order online, by email, or by phone at 617-956-0237, and get ready to get down, N’awlins style.