It the biggest gala of Mardi Gras and one of the biggest social events in the entire region — The San Luis Salute. It is over the top. It is a non-stop dance party. It is a big fundraiser for UTMB. It is sold out and has been for weeks.
More than 1,400 people — myself included — will attend the party at the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort.
Other than knowing the theme, attendees usually have to wait until the doors open before getting to see how the room is set up. Even then, the crowd gathers in the lounge and doesn’t see the ballroom until the curtain rises and dinner is served.
But for the first time in my memory, the San Luis Salute folks gave us preview access so we can share a bit of what those who do attend can expect.
The design includes fancy chandeliers, black and white and silver and high-end centerpieces. There’s a piano covered in gems and stationed on a rotating stage at the entrance and there’s a continuous light show.
The design is the brainchild of Richard Flowers, the chief operating officer of The Events Company; the special events planning arm of Galveston native Tilman Fertitta’s Landry’s Inc. Fertitta also owns the San Luis Resort and he and his wife Paige host The Salute.
Michelle Beckwith, the manager for sales and catering at the San Luis is the driving force behind throwing the party.
Together they put on one heck of a party.
As is the case with every Salute, there are plenty of surprises. Usually the headlining entertainment is a secret until the night of the show. This year, that is not the case. Kool and the Gang will be on stage at some point.
One of the reasons for the quick sell out, Beckwith said, was because the decision was made to announce the group’s appearance in advance. But Beckwith promises more surprises. I pressed her for hints, but she wasn’t given them up.
Even the food will be works of art. San Luis Executive Chef Brian Robertson shared photos of some of the plates. The salad alone looks as if it should be framed.
If you don’t have a ticket, too bad. It is the best party on the island during Mardi Gras — heck all year — and one that you should treat yourself too if you ever get a chance.
Check out the video for a closer look at the set up.