For the third year, members of the Waxahachie International Order of the Odd Fellows and their sister Rebekah Lodge held their annual masquerade ball Saturday. Billed by members of the joint lodge, “This is the largest and only place to dance in Waxahachie tonight,” according to Jeff Browning.
The charity event was attended by close to 150 guests to raise funds for the many charities sponsored by the organizations.
“This is the largest fundraising event we have all year,” Browning said.
“One hundred percent of the funds, after expenses, raised by this event go back into the community,” Browning said, commenting later that they hope to double a $2,000 scholarship to a Waxahachie senior through an essay contest.
Other organizations supported by the groups include Hope Clinic and Waxahachie CARE. They also help a Waxahachie agricultural student by donating a pig as a project animal.
As the crowd began to gather, the bands began playing an assortment of country and rock. The evening’s bands were Too Much Sausage and the Bait House Stompers. As the evening wore on and the dance floor started to fill, sounds of Zydeco music filled the downtown loft where the event was held.
The Mardi Gras ball was completed with a buffet line serving traditional food as well as Cajun favorites. The guests lined up for gumbo, beans and rice, jambalaya as well as barbecue, sausage and roast stew.
“We had several of the local restaurants make donations, but many of the members also cooked food for the dinner. We have several really good cooks in the lodge,” Browning said.
While the food preparations were in progress, members of the Rebekah Lodge decorated the hall in a traditional Mardi Gras style with lights and beads.
Besides the dance and food, the combined lodges also put together a silent auction.
“The community really supported us by making donations for the auction,” Rebekah Lodge member Sara Hatth said. “To hold this event, we combine our resources with our brother Odd Fellow Lodge.”
The annual Mardi Gras Ball is held the Saturday before Fat Tuesday.