Tarts and Tramps and Pirates and Wenches
In former times, residents of Bay-Waveland closed the lids of their costume boxes after Halloween and stored them in the closet until the beginning of Carnival season.
Last November, The Arts, Hancock County rocked the event scene in Bay St. Louis with a Vaudeville-themed costume ball. Organizers were pleasantly surprised when more than 150 patrons - mostly in costume - attended the 2013 Tarts and Tramps Ball to benefit the non-profit.
The event was the talk of the town for weeks after. The grand finale included choreographed dance numbers by a group of local women who perform under the name “Big Sleazy Burlesque.” Although their show was “G” rated and a far cry from “sleazy,” it brought down the house with cheers and laughter.
“People are still talking about the ball a year later,” says Arts president, Cynthia Mahner. “How many times does that happen?”
After hearing accounts of the first annual ball, those who missed it swore they’d catch it next year. Fortunately, next year has arrived. The Second Annual Tarts and Tramps Ball Benefit will take place on Saturday, November 15th, from 7pm – 11pm at the historic 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis. But this time, there’s a new spin.
That Saturday also happens to be “Pirate Day in the Bay.” Pirate Day is a warm-up event for the 200th anniversary of the battle of the Bay of St. Louis, which is slated for December 13th. Pirate Day features several activities, including a costume contest in the afternoon.
“Two costume events taking place in the middle of November? Only in Hancock County,” says Mahner, laughing. “So we opted for a pirate spin too this year. Mixing vaudeville and buccaneers is over-the-top silly, but that way people can wear the same costumes all day, swaggering around town in the afternoon and dancing with us in the evening. We look at it as a creative opportunity.”
The Tarts and Tramps/Pirates and Wenches Ball will feature food by the Silver Slipper Casino, beer from Lazy Magnolia Brewery, a cash bar and a vaudeville-style variety show.
The entertainment line-up includes (of course!) the Big Sleazy Burlesque, The House Katz band, Ivory Bill – “rare, rockin’ Americana” - and more local favorites.
Tickets for the benefit are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. To make it easy, patrons can purchase advance tickets on-line. They’re also available at The French Potager and Bay Books in Old Town. Tickets will be available at the door.
This year, the Arts is inviting local businesses to participate by sponsoring tables at the event. A 22-top is $100, a 12-top table is $60 and a 4-top is $20. Businesses can decorate them according to the Pirate or Vaudeville theme using advertising and promotional materials (contact The Arts for details!)
Favored costumed are vampy attire for women, trampy attire for men and of course, anything that might be found in a buccaneer's sea chest. Mixing up the two themes is encouraged.
All proceeds support various programs of The Arts, like the popular Imagination Station for children and the annual Arts Alive! event, which will take place in March of 2015.
Mahner is enthusiastic about the early community response to the 2014 event.
“As our main fund-raiser for the year, the ball is a financial force for ArtsAlive!,” says Mahner. “But it’s also a fun way for The Arts to connect with members of the community - while partnering with other nonprofits, businesses, and community organizations.”