On Saturday night, normally down-to-earth JP’ers put down their garden tools and left their dog leashes and bike helmets behind for a night of glitz and gaiety at the . The pre-Halloween fundraiser for JP Centre/South Main Streets recalled scenes from Mardi Gras or the Carnival in Venice as the creatively-clad community crowded the to show their support for the organization.
Some of the merrimakers who masqueraded at the benefit included Jeff Ferris of accompanied by his date, an incognito caricature of Barbara Streisand. Jim and Susan Petrik of fame arrived in head-turning full Renaissance regalia. Like many of those present, Patti and Larry McKenna of JP wore their best evening finery with elegant, identity-hiding masks.
Main Streets is an initiative that was first launched locally in 1983 as an experiment in Roslindale by then-City Councilor Thomas Menino. It has now grown to include 19 districts in Boston, whose mission is to assist local businesses.
Under the stewardship of Executive Director Randace Moore, JP Centre/South provides support to neighborhood merchants encompassing everything from storefront improvements to the “
But JP Centre/South is no doubt best known for its sponsorship of the community’s successful First Thursday celebrations. At Saturday’s benefit, Moore, dressed as Ophelia, announced that the summertime festivals of the arts, music, shopping and dining will now be held every month.
“We’ll see how the winter months fare,” remarked the belle of the ball.
, Patch contributor and Artists’ Ball co-chair, noted that many people are gone during the summer and are forced to miss the previously sporadically scheduled events.
“It will be a way of creating community year-round,” she stated.
Accompanied by wife, Susan, Richard Rouse, the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets, said that his agency has recently faced funding cuts and has been further setback by the down economy.
Perhaps by way of compensation, this year’s Artists’ Ball received an outpouring of support from area businesses. Merchants who contributed food, drink, gift certificates and other sponsorships for the event included, to name only a few, , , , The Mission, and . Local artists and crafts people also donated works that were used to raise funds in a silent auction.
Musical entertainment was provided by Sean Morceau and later Hipsocket performed. Soulful songstress Debra Vinci, Hipsocket's lead singer, had the costumed crowd dancing delightedly from her first note to the last.
The masked and mysterious Mindy, who declined to give her last name, joked that she only has one name "like Cher." She paused from her dancing to say that she came to the event to support the arts.
“They need to survive,” she said.