Historical Society to Preserve Local History with a Touch of Mystery at March Masquerade Fundraising Gala

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Photo supplied. Masquerade enthusiasts from the Millbrook Historical Society combined their creative talents at the home of Jerry Zeyl and Glenn Fallis to produce a wide variety of masks that will be for sale at the door for a small donation to the Historical Society. About a dozen volunteers produced over 70 masks that day!

On Saturday, March 25th, the Millbrook & Cavan Historical Society invites us to break free from winter’s clutches in vibrant splashes of colour, glitz and even a little intrigue as it hosts its third major fundraising gala: this time, a March Masquerade.

The Historical Society fundraiser is one of the first and best opportunities of spring for local residents to catch up with friends and neighbours after bunkering down for the winter. The gala is popular for its warm reception, great conversation and good-hearted festivity, but this time, there’s a twist. You may not know exactly who is partying with you, as gala goers are encouraged to wear masks.

Masquerade balls were popular in Europe as early as the 14th century and permitted masked guests to freely intermingle with each other, unhindered by social status or convention. But the use of masks, dancing and music to unite a community and celebrate its common heritage goes back much further, to many of the world’s oldest cultures.

Here, the theme of a March Masquerade came out of collective brainstorming by Historical Society organizers who wanted to capture the spontaneity and exuberance of people waking up from hibernation. Like animals stretching out of their lairs or buds springing up in unexpected places, people who don a mask have the chance to step out of their comfort zone, try on a new look or persona and surprise everyone with whatever happens next. There’s no risk of embarrassment – after all, we’ll all be anonymous!

Guests at the fundraiser do NOT have to wear a mask, but those who do will have a chance to win a special door prize. For attendees who do not have a mask in their wardrobe, local masquerade enthusiasts have been busy constructing a diverse assortment of stunning masks that will be available for purchase at the door by donation to the Historical Society.

The Millbrook Legion will be the venue for the evening, adorned with decorations fit for a masquerade ball including over twenty stunning masques d’art generously created by many of the gifted artists in our community.

Festivities will include a 50/50 draw, bucket raffles and an enticing silent auction including items like a facial by Meraki Aesthetics, a trail ride for two through the Ganaraska Forest from Maple Crescent Farm, stained glass artwork by Peter Ramsay and children’s art classes and adult paint nights from Cavan Art Academy.

In addition to the usual tasty fare, organizers are cooking up something especially zingy for this gala’s refreshment table, to sample the masquerade tradition Mardi Gras-style. The Legion will be operating a cash bar and guests can even top up their evening with the traditional Mardi Gras drink, the Hurricane.

Toe-tapping live music will be provided by the Downeyville Fiddlers and, party goers be willing, there will be dancing.

Millbrook photographer Marjorie Macdonald will be on hand to help guests preserve their Masquerade memories with the perfect photo, in exchange for a donation to the Historical Society.

Sparkle, fun and mystery aside, the purpose of the fundraising gala is to enable the Millbrook & Cavan Historical Society to continue to promote and preserve our local history. The Historical Society is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization with charitable donation status and affiliation with the Ontario Historical Society. It receives no outside funding. The Historical Society’s integral activities include: offering a regular speaker series to promote our local history; preserving local records; leading this community’s efforts to save Needler’s Mill from demolition and taking on responsibility for the mill; promoting our local heritage through publications like the Walking Tour of Millbrook brochure; and spearheading community events such as Blocks & Blooms (coming again in 2018).

All are invited to attend this magical event for a very worthy cause at 7 pm on Saturday, March 25th at the Millbrook Legion. Tickets are available for $20 each from the Historical Society and Bear Essentials in Millbrook. Contributions to the silent auction and bucket raffles are welcomed and interested contributors are asked to email the Historical Society at millbrookcavanhs@gmail.com for more information.

By Anita Odessa

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