WOONSOCKET – The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts has announced the names of five contestants for the title of queen of the 2019 Mardi Gras Ball festivities.
The Mardi Gras Ball will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23, at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, 84 Cumberland St. Festivities will include music and dancing with Jeff Gamache and Runaway Train and the featured zydeco band Squeezebox Stompers. A full Cajun buffet will be served. Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased by calling Lorraine Cloutier at 401-762-9072 or from the contestants.
The title of queen and two princesses will go to the contestants who sell the most raffle and event tickets. Tickets for the raffle are $1 each, and prizes will be drawn on the night of the Mardi Gras Ball. First prize is $500 cash; second prize is a $300 gift certificate to Mohegan Sun; third prize is a $100 Visa card; and fourth prize is a $50 gift card to Savini’s Pomodoro Restaurant.
The queen and her court will be crowned in a special pre-Mardi Gras Ball event on Friday, Feb. 15, at Savini’s Pomodoro Restaurant from 6 to 8 p.m. The mysterious monarch, King Jace XXV, will also be unmasked that evening by the new queen. A contest to determine the king’s identity will keep the general public guessing with the help of clues and photos. Dave Richards, manager of WOON Radio, serves once again as chairman of the King Jace contest. Coronation tickets are $10.
The Queen contestants are:
- Geraldine Barclay-King is the owner of Leave it to Geri Event Planning Service and works at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, Events; previously, she was the Director of Development and Programs for the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. She is very active in the community for such organizations as the Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative, Connecting for Children and Families, Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley, L.A.S.T. Ladies All Socializing Together and Table 19.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a degree in hospitality management/travel and tourism, she has traveled around the U.S. and the world. Born in Liberia, she has two brothers and is the mother of four children ranging in age from 5 to 27 years old (two daughters, two sons).
A woman of varied interests, Geri loves spending time with her family, planning and hosting events, gardening, music, and dancing. She believes there is no better way to serve and support her community than by giving back in any capacity. Given the opportunity as Mardi Gras Queen, she would use this platform to promote the importance of arts, culture and community pride.
- Ellen Cloutier is participating in the contest for a third year. She is a resident of Woonsocket and is a published poet. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking and softball and would like to become more involved in the community. Her grandmother, Jeanne Cloutier, encouraged her to participate.
- Amanda Girard has been involved with the Mardi Gras for several years as a contestant. She is a resident of Woonsocket and is involved with the CCRI Theatre, the Stadium Theatre and Alive. Amanda enjoys theater, arts, reading and crafts. She loves helping others, making a difference and being a part of something big. She thanks her mother for her constant support and the rest of her family, whom she loves very much.
- Ann Jalette is a lifelong Cumberland resident. Ann managed her family’s business, Craft Corner, from 1985 to 2010 and is currently a manager at Vose True Value Hardware.
Ann has been active within the area for a long time as a CCD teacher at St. Joan of Arc Church, a member of the Cumberland Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer at St. Ann Art and Cultural Center and a founding member of the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance. Ann was on the organizing committee of The Blackstone Valley’s “Tribute to the Greatest Generation” and assisted in the northern Rhode Island “Wall of Hope” project at the Museum of Work and Culture.
At Cumberland Hill School, she assisted with the drama program and the “Heroes in History” book, which paired World War II veterans with 5th-grade students. With several area elementary schools and scout groups, she assisted with raising over $5,000 for relief efforts for 9/11 victims.
An award-winning holiday display designer, Ann is the artistic director of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council’s “Polar Express.” She has three grown sons and loves gardening and spending time with her family. Ann has been impressed by the wonderful work of the Northern R.I. Council of the arts and would like to help in this fundraising effort.
- Nancy Sylvestre is a busy woman with a farm, which is a home to goats, chickens and dogs. Nancy enjoys crafts and crocheting and spending time with her family. She became interested in Mardi Gras when she helped support her daughter Nicole Riendeau’s successful run for Queen of the Mardi Gras in 2017. READ MORE