FAIRMONT - Mardi Gras is renowned for being a good time, and that's what Presentation College is aiming for with its Feb. 18 fundraiser.
But the event isn't just about fun frivolity; it's about putting people through college, a seriously expensive venture for many students these days.
Cassie Becker was the recipient of one of five grants awarded last year, thanks to proceeds from the Mardi Gras fund-raiser. Somewhere between the 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. Cajun Cuisine Dinner and 8 p.m. dance at the Holiday Inn, Becker will be sharing her story.
A senior at Presentation College Fairmont campus, Becker is studying biology and chemistry. She'll be graduating this spring after just three and a half years, a big accomplishment for anyone, but especially considering she's also a wife and mother of two.
Each of last year's Mardi Gras grant recipients received about $2,000. That's money Becker won't have to borrow for schooling, she said, and the less money she has to borrow, the less stress she's under.
"The less stress you have, the better you can be at school and at home," Becker said.
This is the fifth year Presentation College will host its Mardi Gras. The first year, the school sold 13 tables, with 8 people seated at each table. This year, sponsors alone have purchased 16 tables. The event is reaching its maximum: 27 tables are booked and more reservations are coming in, closing in on the 30 mark.
"My goal is to sell it out," said Traci Lardy, director of the Fairmont campus.
"When we provide more scholarships ... that helps us recruit and helps us maintain, which is good for the whole community," Lardy said.
Tickets are $60 each. Students from Presentation College will be there volunteering, and some will be attending.
Part of this year's fund-raiser is a live auction that will precede the dance. Ten packages were donated from area businesses, ranging in value from $65 to $875, including a date night, with dinner at El Agave followed by a show at Fairmont Opera House; and a Sioux Falls weekend getaway.
Attire for the event is casual dress to formal, whatever people feel most comfortable wearing, Lardy said.
"It's becoming an annual event, because it's winter and people are sick of sitting inside. They're looking for fun, and they found it with us," Lardy said.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (507) 235-4658 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org