Party with the Phantom at Le Fête in Vergennes

Everyone likes to party, especially when it’s a party with a purpose. But sometimes those purposeful parties can be, well, a little lame — think streamers and balloons, some brownies and other tray bakes, and an iPod shuffling a “dance” playlist. Meh, not exactly an awesome night out.
This Saturday, May 11, the Ferrisburgh Central School Parent Teacher Organization has set out to throw a fundraiser that’s anything but lame — it’s Le Fête. Think Masquerade Ball meets the Phantom of the Opera, in an opulent, twinkling atmosphere of silver and gold chandeliers with food, drinks and live performances at the Vergennes Opera House.
Sounds fun!
“We wanted to do something really different,” said Kate Yarbrough, who’s been planning this event with fellow PTO parent Ashley LaFlam since the fall. “This will be a big step up from other things we generally do for PTO fundraisers. This is an evening for adults to dress up and think of as a night out.”
“There won’t be any balloons and streamers,” LaFlam promised. “There will be music from DJ Amanda Rock (a local mom who cuts hair at Shear Cuts in Vergennes), food from 3 Squares, a bar by Hired Hand and Bar Antidote, and a dessert table by Daily Chocolates and Honeymoon Kitchens… Then there will be live performances by characters from The Phantom of the Opera, including Christine, Raoul and the Phantom… It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
And she should know, this 2004 Vergennes Union High School grad got her degree from Champlain College in hospitality management with a focus on event planning. The mom of three (a third-grader, first-grader and 2-year-old) LaFlam also keeps busy as the business director of her husband’s company, Goose Creek Builders, based in Vergennes. But she saves a little extra time for the PTO.
“I love doing events,” LaFlam said. “So when I had an opportunity to do something like this, I jumped on it… I’ve had this idea for a number of years, and I was finally able to make it work for the PTO. They gave us the support to be creative and do this.”
LaFlam and Yarbrough, captained this project; securing sponsorships for the upfront costs. Tickets cost $25 and proceeds will all benefit the Ferrisburgh Central School PTO.
“I’ve been really touched by how many local businesses have stepped forward for this,” said Yarbrough, the mom of twin boys in first grade and a four-year-old. “I love being involved in the PTO. It’s a robust group. The identity of our school is still very personal and one that has a lot to do with volunteered support.”
THE PHANTOM HAS been spotted around Vergennes recently — haunting local businesses that are supporting the Ferrisburgh Central School PTO’s upcoming dance party at the Vergennes Opera House. 
Independent photo/Steve James
Aside from the local food, DJ and bar, Addison County photographer Andrea Warren will be taking photos at the event, and will host a photo booth. Add to that the local talent of the performers.
While the Phantom, Christine and Raoul’s identities will remain a mystery until Saturday evening, Yarbrough has assured us they are “astonishing.”
“I’ve attended the rehearsals,” she said, adding that Helen Weston, the Ferrisburgh Central School music teacher, has been helping these local parent-performers practice. “And literally everyone in the room stopped when they heard the voices. They’re truly operatic. It’s really soaring arias, and amazing local talent.”
If that’s not enough, this event has a mission too.
“With school budgets shrinking many opportunities for students would not be possible without the PTO,” Yarbrough explained. “Each year the organization funds school field trips, art enrichment, family fun activities, the school garden, and more.”
That all costs money.
“This year the PTO’s budget was about $7,000-$8,000,” said LaFlam. “But we had about $10,000 in requests; we had to say no to some things… We are not bringing in what we’re being asked to put out, and I was tired of saying no.”
So, LaFlam and Yarbrough set out to plan an event that would contribute to the PTO in a “big way.”
“We’re both up and coming parents with young kids in the school system,” Yarbrough said of herself and LaFlam. “We want to establish an event that will keep our bank account in a place that can support field trips, art programs and grants for teachers to start extra curricular activities…. If it’s successful we hope to repeat this year after year.”
For more info visit vergennesoperahouse.org or follow Le Fête on Facebook and Instagram @LeFeteVT — where you can see photos of The Phantom haunting supporting businesses around Vergennes.

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