Let the … good times roll

Mardi Gras Gala to benefit Maui AIDS Foundation matters

More than 300 revelers attended last year’s gala. ADIWOOD photos

Masks and beads and feathers, oh my! When Maui AIDS Foundation hosts its annual Mardi Gras Gala on Feb. 24, attendees will be dressed in both dapper and outrageous costumes.

Yes, the island will meet New Orleans at Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. VIP seating starts at 6 p.m., featuring a crowd-pleasing menu by Four Seasons Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst, live dance music by Shea Derrick & Full Flavor Band, a silent auction, a DJ after-party, and a photo booth. But leave the kids at home. This event is for those 21 and older only.

“Federal funds are under danger,” says Daryl Fujiwara, MAF Board president. “Support is going more toward the clinical side rather than prevention. That’s why this benefit is so important as we need those unrestricted funds to keep free testing available.”

In fact, Maui AIDS Foundation is the only organization in the state that administers free HepC, syphilis and HIV tests. All are welcome with an anonymous appointment. It takes only about 30 minutes.

“In January 2017, MAF saw a huge spike in reactives to the syphilis tests, almost an increase of 70 percent. Today that number is steady, but the results are only on the people we’ve screened. It’s everyone else we are worried about — the people who don’t have access to care, and who may be hurting others,” he continues.

Shea Derrick will return to perform with the 12-piece Full Flavor Band.

Getting back to the party, come see and be seen as you support this noble cause.

“We had such a blast last year at the Four Seasons and we are thrilled to return!” says MAF Executive Director Steve Hire. “Bust out your best bedazzled masks, outrageously ornate outfits and fiercest dancing heels for a night of glitter and glitz you can’t get anywhere else on Maui — all for a great cause.”

If you wish to attend but lack the proper party attire, don’t worry. Everyone in need will get beads and a mask, gratis at the door.

“I look forward to seeing what everyone is wearing. Some people get crazy, but it’s Mardi Gras, how else do you do it?” asks Fujiwara. “Plus, Shea Derrick and her 12-piece band dish up more dancing music than I’ve seen in awhile. That’s why we’ve asked them to come back. She’s just so beautiful — a rocker, local and so nice.”

Before you kick up your heels, do sit down to the King’s Feast by the Four Seasons.

“The menu looks so delicious and flavorful. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian options, too,” Fujiwara says. “We have changed it up from last year with everything from bowls of clam chowder to grilled asparagus with lump crab, grapefruit and Tahitian-vanilla dressing.”

Let the good times roll with quinoa, feta, spinach, Meyer lemon and blueberries in agrodulce sauce; mixed marinated vegetable salad with truffle dressing; housemade orecchiette pasta with red-wine-braised short rib, ricotta salata and fresh parsley; grilled local shutome, or swordfish, with Mandarin orange, pine nuts and wasabi veloute; and skillet-roasted local spring harvest vegetables.

But it doesn’t stop there. Hunker down to roasted chicken with chimmichurri and blistered Haiku cherry tomatoes; rice pilaf with fresh herbs from the hotel garden; roasted new potatoes with lemon and rosemary, and freshly baked rolls.

“The Four Seasons really puts out for us!” says Raysha Mamala, vice president and event chair. “We’re so thankful to Kayla McCracken and staff who work tirelessly to ensure that this is a five-star event.”

Desserts taking it over the top are gluten-free espresso creme brulee and strawberry-and-lemon-meringue shooters along with rum-raisin bread pudding and chocolate-pecan tartlets. No-host cocktails will be festive for the Mardi Gras occasion.

The VIP party will be in the main ballroom. It includes tasty auction items such as dinners at Old Lahaina Lu’au and Cane & Canoe and hotel stays at Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Grand Wailea and Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, among many more sought-after goods.

The After Party will rock in another room and the dance floor will be a swirl of color and a sea of Maui faces having fun, as DJ Z brings the house down with tunes to get you up and dancing.

“This fun, fabulous event helps Maui AIDS Foundation to serve clients and also reach out to help our Maui community stay safe. We are so grateful to all who share in Mardi Gras Maui!” says Financial Director Walt Murphy.

Mardi Gras Maui at a glance:

• King’s Feast: This VIP party runs from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. It includes buffet dinner, dance music, silent auction and after-party. No-host bar. Cost is $140 for those 21 and older.

• After Party: Kick up your heels from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with DJ Z. No-host bar. Must be 21. Cost is $40 per person.

• For tickets: Call Maui AIDS Foundation from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday or visit www.mauiaids.org.