You know you're in for quite a party when you enter the Tremont Grand and are immediately greeted by masked drag queens.
Welcome to "Masquerade on Charles," the third annual masked gala that benefits The Historic Charles Street Association.
Not only were guests encouraged to come in masks, but in black and white formal attire as well.
"It's really modeled after Truman Capote's 1966 party of the century," said executive director Robin Budish, explaining the theme of the party that she, board president Michael Haynie and event chair Candy Wongsam were now presiding over.
"What's fun for me is wearing the mask and no one knows who I am," said board member Michael McGowan. He was expressing a sentiment shared by many other guests.
"You can invent a personality for the evening and that makes it really fun," said Kimber Goodwin, president of TDB Marketing, speaking from behind a feathery feline mask that featured peacock feather "ears."
Meanwhile, Brian Laug, Heath Design Group principal, and Stacey Nicholson, CNR Insurance president, had found another use for their facial facades.
"We can actually switch masks from time to time so that your wife can't find you," said Laug, appropriately outfitted in a gold jester mask.
And how was that working out ?
"Check back in a couple of hours," Laug said with a chuckle.
Neighborhoods celebrating themselves
For some, there's no better place to party hearty than Fells Point. A few hundred folks did that last weekend, in honor of the neighborhood itself, at the Douglass-Myers museum.
Party co-chair Danielle Dutreix told me the very first Harbor Ball was held some 41 years ago.
"The first one was to save the [area], when I-95 was going to obliterate Fells Point and Federal Hill. They had the initial Harbor Ball to raise money to pay attorneys to fight that construction that would have destroyed the neighborhoods."
This time around, attorneys - and lots of other professionals - were the ones doing the paying ... for party tickets. Canton legal eagles Jim Doyle and Ron Klemkowski - along with GKA Advertising senior account manager Cindy Plackmeyer, Erickson Retirement Communities Executive V.P. Debra Doyle, Open Door Childcare head honcho Jeanne Murphy, Premier Rides top gun Jim Seay and Baltimore Eats co-owner Celeste Corsaro - ate, drank and danced the night away to tunes from the Crawdaddies.
That other previously endangered neighborhood - Federal Hill - also threw itself a party recently. "Fest of All" is Federal Hill Main Street's annual shindig at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. One of the evening's main attractions was Eric Anderson, 26, of Canton, who was recruited to model clothes from Federal Hill boutiques. Every time the Paychex account exec strolled the catwalk, the crowd erupted in cheers and whistles - especially when he modeled beach attire, sans shirt. "It was kind of fun, and weird," Anderson says.
How did this salesman get sold on the idea?
"Well, they offered free food and drinks. So I was in!"