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Mardi Gras Athens

Emily McCannon

Family Counseling Services, Inc. has assisted families in the Northeast Georgia area since 1971 via group, individual and family counseling as well as addressing larger community issues like child abuse, alcohol and drug dependence, domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization will host its annual Mardi Gras Athens fundraiser this week. In past years this benefit has supported the expansion of the Carson Center, the organization’s base of operations, and this year’s funds will go toward providing direct services to clients.

Mardi Gras Athens kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday and will feature a costume party, an authentic Cajun meal, a raffle for a $1,000 cash prize, a silent auction, music by Dawg-Town Entertainment and Mistress of Ceremonies, Portia (AKA Dr. Frank-n-Furter). The silent auction will feature items from area restaurants and hotels as well as autographed memorabilia from Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers and R.E.M. VIP tickets are $30 each and include the New Orleans Cajun meal, a complimentary drink and admission to the post-party concert with the Matt Joiner Band and Emily McCannon. Raffle tickets are $10 each, or 12 for $100. Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother is offering a 20 percent discount on costumes for customers who mention “Mardi Gras Athens.â€

Family Counseling Services partners with several local agencies including AIDS Athens, Nuçi’s Space, The Cottage and Project Safe. Counselor Rebecca Willingham explains, “Seventy-three percent of the families we serve earn less than $25,000 a year with only 20 percent earning between $25,000 and $40,000 a year. With the increasing struggles families and individuals are facing today, this next year is crucial for Family Counseling Service as we strive to provide much needed support services to the community of Athens-Clarke County.â€

Event and raffle tickets can be purchased online at All donations are tax deductible.