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1 March 2017

Mardi Gras at Hotel Vermont

Thanks all who attended what I claimed to be the first honest-to-goodness Mardi Gras party with live Cajun and Zydeco music ON Mardi Gras night in Burlington.  Big shout-out to Hotel Vermont, Vermont’s owned-and-operated hotel in downtown Burlington.  As much fun as it was, it was also a successful effort to raise money for an important and worthy cause.  We celebrated the turn toward spring, though it already was very spring-like, irregardless of anyone’s religious affiliations, whether or not giving something up today has anything to do with what you believe or how you conduct your affairs.

Plenty of eating, drinking, dancing, visiting, and fun was had.  The music was great…..Alec and Katie and Chris started us off, Yankee Chank covered the center, and Planet Zydeco brought it home.  Drs. Alan Homans and Fred Holmes spoke about the importance of the Tom Sustic Fund.  I didn’t make it, but the fun times continued at 10:30 with the transition to Honky Tonk Night at Radio Bean.

There were plenty of reasons to do this.  It was Mardi Gras for one!  We also had some resourceful and willing partners….. Hotel Vermont and Vermont Children’s Hospital.  It was a great way to address Young Tradition Vermont’s 4-part mission….. inspire, learn, perform, and serve.  We’re rarely had such an ideal event for the service part of the mission.  All funds go to the Tom Sustic Fund.  Over the past couple of years, the number of families accessing the TS Fund has exceeded the resources available….. the Mardi Gras event was one way we hope to meet that continuing challenge.

Big thanks and appreciation to:

  • John Abair, Tim Weaver, Tori Carton and the whole crew at Hotel Vermont….. a beautiful place, enthusiastic and generous support, and they totally ‘got it’ about what we’re trying to do, why, and how
  • Eden Cider and the Alchemist for donating proceeds from drinks
  • Oliver Scanlon and Ceile Kronick for doing sound
  • The musicians who drove, some from far away, played on the busiest night of the year for Cajun and Zydeco musicians ……. Alec and Katie and Chris….. Bob, Cannon, Jim, June for Yankee Chank….. Alan, Cannon, Peter, Nick, Paul with guests Michael and June for Planet Zydeco.
  • Dr. Lewis First, Sue Victory and everyone else at the Vermont Children’s Hospital for the financial support and sponsorship, and for supporting children and families in incredibly difficult circumstances day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.
  • The Tom Sustic Fund Advisory Committee…. Deborah and I, Adam Fortune, Pam McCarthy, Jan Hancock, Dr. Brad Friesen and Dr. Alan Homans
  • The Young Tradition Vermont Board of Directors for making sure support for the Tom Sustic Fund remains a priority while operating 30 programs, including concerts, dances, workshops, camps, performance groups, school partnerships and more

The TS Fund supports things like car repair, lost time from work, families traveling with their children to transplant centers.  Tom wasn’t all that thrilled about traditional music and dance, to be honest, outside of the social opportunities it created….. he once said ‘I’m not that kind of boy’…. but he did think Cajun music was ok…. it wasn’t boring, it was loud, you could dance to it…. so I think he would have been fine with the night.

Meant to take some photos, but it didn’t happen so much.  Got any photos?  If so, send them along!

Several suggestions about making it an annual affair…..  too early for that, but surely will be considered.


Mark Sustic


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