VERGENNES — The Vergennes Opera House will be transformed into a smaller replica of San Marco Plaza, the famous plaza in Venice, Italy, on Saturday, March 1, from 7 to 10 p.m., for “Carnevale Vergennes.” This gala event features an evening full of music, surprising entertainment, unusual raffle items and guests in masks and costumes.
Carnevale in Venice, Italy, celebrates the end of winter and the coming spring. It is a festive season that occurs immediately before Lent and typically involves public celebrations, parades and public street parties. Vergennes may not be Venice, but the Little City is having a Carnevale gala nevertheless, thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of new city residents Andrew and Jeff Fritz.
“This is the first time in 10 years we have missed going to Carnevale in Venice and we thought, why not bring it here,” said Jeff Fritz.
He and Andrew also wanted to do something that would be a benefit to two organizations they see as integral to the quality of life in the little city, the Vergennes Opera House and the Vergennes Partnership.
Carnevale Vergennes encourages guests to arrive in Venetian-style masks or painted faces while wearing dramatic and colorful garments. Venetian masks have been worn since antiquity and have a long history of protecting their wearer’s identity. Everyone was equal when wearing these distinctive masks, which were typically formed from papier-mâché and wildly decorated with fur, fabric, gems or feathers. Eventually, Venetian masks re-emerged as the emblem of Carnevale (“Venetian Carnival”), a pageant and street fair celebration.
Carnevale Vergennes features an intimate trio of classical musicians lead by local resident and VSO flutist Anne Janson with VSO musicians Steve Klimowski on clarinet and Bonnie Klimowski on cello. There will also be acrobatic artists, a vocal soloist, special artistic lighting, a portrait station and over a dozen unusual, one-of-a-kind (some would say priceless) raffle items. Delicious hors d’oeuvres will be available all created by the culinary students from Northlands Job Corps. The cash bar will be hosted by Bar Antidote with a percentage of the proceeds being donated back to the event.
“This is truly a community-wide celebration that brings folks together to celebrate and support two very important organizations that add to a vibrant community life in Vergennes,” said Vergennes Opera House President Gerianne Smart. “We are delighted to be the host sight for this dual fundraiser and to have something unusual and fun to kick-off the season for the Opera House.”
“The Vergennes Partnership is excited about working with the Opera House and hosts Jeff and Andrew Fritz on this joint fundraising event, said Vergennes Partnership President Shanon Atkins.“We hope this is the first of many collaborations between the Partnership and the Opera House. A strong Opera House is essential to a strong and vibrant Vergennes downtown.”
Tickets are $50 each and are on sale at Linda’s Apparel, Classic Stitching and Everywear Boutique, all located on Main Street in Vergennes. The ticket price also includes a commemorative Carnevale Vergennes glass.
Sponsors include Lang McLaughry Real Estate and Connie Houston, RPM and Pete and Stephan Markowski and Vergennes Animal Hospital.
For more information visit www.vergennesoperahouse.org or call 802-877-6737.