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The Masque of the Red Death Gala, a Halloween masquerade

The theme of Poe continues with a fancy masquerade, a one-night event that the Powel Crosley Estate Foundation is throwing on Halloween. The event is called “The Masque of the Red Death” gala, named after the Poe tale. The price for this upscale masquerade is $75 a ticket, but only those age 21 and older are allowed. Attendees will basically be involved in a performance of the “The Masque,” as everyone has been invited as guests of Prince Prospero, the main character in the fiction.

This event takes place at the Powel Crosley Mansion and attendees will be allowed to explore the entire estate. Seven of the rooms in the mansion will be decorated with the same color-schemes as the seven chambers in the tale. As in the story, even the lighting in the “chambers” will correspond to the color scheme of the room.

“There’s going to be LED lighting so the whole room will be in that [room's theme] color so that you’ll know which room you are in,” Kala Clark, food service director for Milan Catering and Event Design LLC, said. Milan Catering is involved in creating this event.

When people arrive, they will be greeted by Prince Prospero, portrayed by Tom Laitenen one of the Powel Crosley Theatre actors, and will be given “anti-plague” potion to keep them safe from the Red Death. The “potion” is an on-the-house cocktail. There will also be a cash bar and Halloween-themed snacks.

“Eyeballs, severed fingers, tentacles, things of that nature,” Clark explained. “This is going to be a fun party. Everyone’s going to be dressed to the nines. [Butlers will be] walking around all night enticing the guests but acting also.”

Just as with the House of Horrors, all people involved with the operation of the masquerade will be in character. The chime of a clock will sound every hour, like in the tale, at which point the music will stop and the butlers will interact more with the guests.

“Perhaps [they will give] a snippet from the actual story, just plot moving devices,” Rachel Harrison, the facility manager of the Bradenton Area Convention Center and the Powel Crosley Estate, said. “But each person assigned to each room will provide that little piece of the story throughout the night at specific times […] so that everyone has the same experience even if they’re on opposite ends of the building, until everyone gathers in the great room.”

The great room is the main entrance room into the mansion, which will be decorated as the last chamber in the story, with black appointments but blood right lighting, the only room in which the lighting does not match the color scheme. In this room, Harrison said, guests may want to be extra careful to avoid the Red Death.

The thrill of the gala will be in how closely events will match Poe’s tale. As it is a party, there will be music provided by a DJ, first some strings to get the mood set, but later some classy dance music, such as Frank Sinatra to get the crowd dancing, according to Clark. Tickets for the gala include entrance to the House of Horrors, if guests decide to wander out of the mansion.

The gala is the kick-start event of the Powel Crosley Supper Club.

“The Supper Club’s main goal is to raise money for the Powel Crosley Foundation,” Clark said.
“They take care of all of the improvements on the estate, as this is an historic building.”

The Powel Crosley Estate is located between the NCF campus and USF-Manatee, near enough to wander for an intellectual fright at the House of Horrors, or a masquerade at the gala.

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