REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. --A night of fun, live music and dancing. Check. Lots of games and great prizes. Check. Live and silent auctions. Check. An event that will benefit military families. Check. The Officer and Civilian Women's Club is putting together its main fund-raising event of the year - Mardi Gras style.

The Evening on the Bayou will be held Feb. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Officers and Civilians Club.

"Proceeds will be used to further community assistance and merit award programs such as scholarships, Army Family Programs, donations to other supporting military events, and assistance to military families," event chairperson Tonya Daniels said.

The fund-raiser was originally slated last year but was postponed because of a community scheduling conflict. "I needed something that would grab everyone's attention again. Mardi Gras and the extravagance was the way to go," Daniels said.

"From the beer and wine tasting to the silent auction, we are sure to have something for everyone. We will have a live band to enhance our Mardi Gras moods and tasty appetizers to take us into the night," she said.

Masks and beads and of course a New Orleans ambiance will be the night's theme, so folks don't have to be shy about dressing up. There will also be a mask contest.

"This is the first time we've put on this type of event," Daniels said. "I measure success by everyone who attends and has a great time."

Having put hundreds of volunteer hours with the entire committee combined over the past three months, Daniels expects a big success.

"We have been very fortunate in the past years to have successful fund-raising events such as our Pineapple Open which is what we normally hold," she said. The golf tournament had to be canceled as well, so Daniels thought it would be a great idea to make this year's fund-raiser completely different. "Everything else is a bonus," she said.

A variety of door prizes and gifts have been collected by the committee and will all be given away that night. Prizes include gift certificates to fine restaurants, various theme baskets, several free hotel accommodations with meals included, family movie night passes, gift certificates for a shopping spree at Bridge Street, art, movie tickets and more.

Daniels encourages the community to support this event because of the benefits it will bring to military families.

"First and foremost, this is a fund-raiser to be able to continue our Merit Awards and Community Assistance grants," she said. "Just buying tickets to this event adds to the bottom line and brings in funds. By attending this event, participating in the silent auction, you will further advance our ability to service the community. And the Arsenal and surrounding communities' camaraderie cannot be denied.

"I think, sleep and breathe this event," she said, laughing. "But it's what I love to do - helping others and I'm having fun at the same time."

Daniels is joined by committee members in this effort. Key members include Tracy McConachie, silent auction chair; Heather Scott, graphic artist; Vickie Cerniglia, decorations; and Lana Barshinger, volunteer coordinator. "But the entire board has stepped up and made this happen," Daniels said.

Tickets are $20 for individuals or $35 per couple. The event is open to everyone with gate access. Call 489-3009 or go to to purchase tickets and for more information. This event is also sponsored by Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation activities.