Mardi Gras came to the Canfield Casino on Saturday night.
The historic building in Congress Park was the host of a benefit for the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was the 12th year of the event, which is organized by Hattie’s Restaurant, a landmark in Saratoga Springs.
Early in the evening the event was on its way to being the best-attended of Hattie’s Mardi Gras celebrations, with presold tickets exceeding every other year. Minutes after 6 p.m. when people started arriving, the casino’s bar area was already full of guests, according to SPAC spokeswoman Shane Williams-Ness, who was in attendance.
The casino was transformed to resemble the famous Mardi Gras parades of Bourbon Street. “It’s a very New Orleans vibe,” Williams-Ness said.
Hattie’s chef Jasper Alexander and his staff provided specialty cocktails and New Orleans style food.
There was also live music from Garland Nelson and Soul Session, a photobooth, a silent auction, original Karinska ballet costumes from the New York City Ballet on display and Mardi Gras beads.
Guests of the fundraiser were encouraged to have fun with their attire, with anything from jeans and a shirt to black tie welcome.
The money raised from this event will help offset the costs of the planned one-week residency of the ballet this summer, which is down from three weeks a few years ago.
The gradual reduction was a cost-saving measure. In 2011, SPAC had to raise more than $1 million to offset the costs not covered by ticket sales for the NYC Ballet through fundraising.
SPAC hopes to bring the New York City Ballet back for two weeks in 2014.