Since the 15th century, masquerade balls have entertained and enthralled. From the finest courts of regal Europe to steamy modern-day Latin carnivals, le bal masque is a chance to slip out of every day life and live on the edge while offering only a hint of the character behind the costume.

Some of the darkest nights of the year occur in Fernie in late October, so the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation brings you the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball to warm up the evening with a little spice and flair. There’s no obligation to dress up; you’re welcome to come in whatever you feel comfortable in. But for those who love nothing better than to dress up in their finest frocks and feathers, this is the time. A masquerade ball wouldn’t be complete without a mask of course, and this can be many things; from a tiny twinkling eye covering, to a pearl encrusted full face piece or a sinister beaked mask. Create your own at home with a few dyed feathers, purchase one locally or online for just a few dollars or splash out at a specialist store on a handcrafted piece of wearable art complete with jewels and gold leaf.

Tickets for the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation Masquerade Ball Annual Fundraiser at the Fernie Community Centre are now on sale at Stephanie’s Glass, Ghostrider Trading and the Elk Valley Hospital for $75 per person. Doors open at 6pm on Saturday, October 27 for a magical night of entertainment and excitement all for a good cause. Beginning with cocktails, the evening will progress to a sumptuous feast of decadent prime rib, chicken cordon bleu and roasted salmon. Entertainment will be included throughout the night as well as the main fundraiser—the ever popular silent auction. Special new ways to donate will be featured, such as a balloon auction: purchase a balloon for a guaranteed prize plus a ticket for one of the big finale draws.

This event will raise valuable funds to go towards equipment for the medical centres in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford. All monies raised will stay in the Elk Valley and will benefit local communities. With over $550,000 raised to date, the EVHF is an important and integral part of our community’s health and wellbeing. Support the foundation and enjoy a wonderful night of fun and entertainment at the ball; remember to dig deep—the auction is where the majority of the funds are raised, as the prizes are generous donations from community. If you would like to donate a prize or other support, contact Aysha Haines on 250-531-3999.

As if this grand event wasn’t enough to look forward to, October is certainly not the “slow season” any longer. Continue the theme of international culture with the second Indie Films Fernie screening on Monday, October 1 at the Vogue Theatre, hosted by The Arts Station. The Intouchables is the highest grossing non-English language film of all time about the touching friendship between two men thrown together in unlikely circumstances. Also on the Cultural Calendar in October, The Sophia Perlman Quartet takes to the stage at The Arts Station with a collection of stylish Jazz numbers on Tuesday, October 9, or you can take in a little Opera with a screening of Mozart’s risqué love story Cosi Fan Tutti on Friday, October 12. Did you know the title is interpreted as “women are like that” and the subject is loosely based on wife-swapping? Oh those cheeky 18th Century libertarians!

If the cooler weather doesn’t keep you inside, mark your calendars for the final golfing events of the season at Fernie Golf and Country Club. The Ironman Open on Sunday, October 7 provides the opportunity to pack in as much golf as you can manage in one day, and the Turkey Scramble on Monday, October 8 is a fun finale to the season. The course will close for 2012 around a week later, conditions permitting.