Mardi Gras Gala

A new king was crowned at the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania's annual event.

The Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania hosted its 6th Annual Mardi Gras Gala at the Crystal Tea Room on Friday, February 8th. This year, the Mardi Gras King was Jim Connolly, president and CEO of Aeras. Here he is being feted by past Mardi Gras kings, Thomas M. McCormick Jr. (2008), Stephen W. Wouch (2009), and Gregory S. Osberg (2012).

Below: Josh Gordon and Julia Gordon, development associate at EFEPA. Adapted from the traditional Mardi Gras held yearly in New Orleans, the Philadelphia-style gala features an open bar complete with hurricanes, a three-course French Creole sit-down dinner by Finley Caterers, lively Mummers entertainment, and dancing to the Tribeca Grand, a nine-piece band.

A parade, extravagant decorations, beads, jesters, voodoo dolls, and masks all add to the festive decor. Below: Bev Miller, Sandra Tagert, Michele DiIenno and Elyse Pizzi.

Below: Melissa Maney, Brian Pomento and Danielle Satterthwaite. It’s their fourth year going to the Mardi Gras event. It’s like a reunion; they get to see old friends, and they help out a great cause.

Below: Stuart Shapiro, Meredith Shapiro, Alexis Shapiro and Peter Shapiro. Alexis and Peter have a son who is epileptic, and they are excited to get more involved with the EFEPA.

Below: The McCormick family, Kate, Chrissy, Tom (The Kahuna), Bridget, Shannon and Caitlyn. Tom was the inaugural Mardi Gras king, but is most proud of his daughters. Every year they bring the party, and this year they couldn’t wait to get on the dance floor.

Below: Master of ceremonies for the evening was Fox 29’s Chris O’Connell, with Dawn O’Connell. The duo were excited to support such a great cause.

Below: Frank Kotulka, board president, with Linda and Greg Osberg. Last year, the Osberg family honored their son with an annual award that will be given each year to a medical professional for their dedication. Joyce Liporace was this years’s Eric Burton Osberg Award recipient. Joyce has been involved with the EFEPA for more than 15 years.

Below: Aqua America CEO Nick DeBenedictis, with Dana Pirolli and Miss Philadelphia Lauren Bilski. Dana will be participating in the Miss Philadelphia contest, which is March 3rd. Dana is a 23-year-old student at Bucks County Community College and will be doing a dance performance at this year’s pageant. She is supporting a community service platform called “Epilepsy Awareness.”

Below: Greta Greenberger and Alan Greenberger. Greta tells me that the Mardi Gras Gala has the same fun sense as the old Beaux Arts Balls; remember that one? Can someone bring it back?

Below: Jim Connolly and wife Megan Connolly, who has epilepsy. During his acceptance speech, Jim spoke of the misconceptions about people with epilepsy, and how the EFEPA was working so everyone understood exactly what it was and what it wasn’t. In closing, he said his wife, Megan, was his hero.

Below: Jean Gardyne was eying up the VIP vacation to NYC that was in the silent auction. Hope she got it.

In conjunction with the Mardi Gras Gala, the EFEPA hosted the Young Professionals Mardi Gras Gala for those between the ages of 21 and 30. They joined the party between 9 p.m. and midnight, paying a reduced ticket price. It’s a great way to introduce the younger set to philanthropy. Below: Carolina du Cunha, Eric Schmidt and Mark Bilall.

Below: I caught up with Jessica Rosenthal and Staci Seidman on the dance floor looking festive. This was Staci’s fourth time at the Mardi Gras Gala, and it’s always a good time for a great cause, she told me.

Below: Reid Rosenthal, the Rosenthal Group-Rittenhouse Square, with best buds Jay Friedman and Dustin Seidman. They all met at camp.

Below: The fashion-forward Elena Shrayberman and Jason Joyce. Elena tells me this was a shirt, but she liked it as a short dress. What are your thoughts? Check out all the good works at the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania, and Happy Fat Tuesday!