Mardi Gras came early this year, courtesy of one of our community’s most charitable-and most fun-organizations. The Tempe Diablos’ splashy annual fundraising event, Casino Capers, created the perfect setting for a fun-filled confluence of Las Vegas and New Orleans.
From the beads that adorned the guests to the parade that wrapped its way around the makeshift casino, the French Quarter ambience was everywhere.
Every year the Diablos magically transform an unused warehouse (this year, a vacant department store) into an evening of good fun and good fundraising.
The event has become a tradition for Tempe, and this time was no exception. Mayor Hallman greeted guests as they arrived, and council members courted Lady Luck at the gaming tables; it was a veritable “Who’s-Who” of local notables.
The event allowed guests to enjoy an evening of beverages, a great dinner and Vegas-style gaming. A generous allocation of free “fun-money” included in the ticket price found its way to the gaming tables or into the hands of bidders vying for various silent- and live-auction goodies.
Most guests spent the early part of the evening trying to double or even triple their original investment, not only to make the bidding process more fun but to make their offers hopefully more competitive.
In fact, one of Casino Capers’ most welcome touches is that the dealers actually pull for the players to win.
A little encouragement and advice are agreeably shared with of the novice gamblers, and those with more experience seemed ready to offer up their secrets of success to fellow party-goers.
Perusing the list of auction prizes, it was no surprise to find guests spending time fine-tuning their bids. Available rewards ranged from an adorable Lab puppy to a new car, from spring break in Southern California to luxury suites at some of the most sought-after resort destinations in- and out-of-town.
Certainly there was no ignoring the current state of the economy, but pockets seemed nonetheless deep, even at a time when a lot of folks are keeping a closer eye on their family purse strings.
Considering all the scholarships and grants that are provided as a result of the generosity of the Diablos and their guests, it wasn’t hard to reach a little deeper.
When the tallying is over each year, the numbers speak convincingly of the value of this annual merrymaking, the true winners of which are our community’s youth.
This year’s receipts haven’t yet been totaled, but it seems obvious that Casino Capers, even in a down economy, had plenty of people in an upbeat mood.