As the ball drops in Times Square, the 10 piece dance band fills the ballroom with electric sounds reminiscent of a Brazilian carnival.
To ring in the new year, the Legendary Lake Monsters and Vernon Lodge present New Year’s Eve Carnival Dec. 31.
“Save the flight to Rio,” Al Szeliga, Legendary Lake Monsters founder and trumpeter laughed. “It’s one of the events where people can dress up and have a fun, classy evening out.”
Following a South American carnival theme, the night features danceable Latin tunes mixed with a Brazilian-styled menu and cocktails.
“It’s definitely an upscale event. It’s classy,” said Anita Baturin, lead singer of the group. “It’s a taste of Brazil.”
Keeping with that theme, Brazilian carnival attire — masks, feathers and bright colours — are suggested but not required.
“If people just want to come and have a good time and not dress up, that’s fine too,” Baturin said. “And just before midnight, they will be bringing out appetizers and special desserts.”
The Legendary Lake Monsters, who rocked the Vernon Lodge New Year’s Eve party two years ago with a 007-themed event, will fill all three of the venue’s ballrooms in four sets with their iconic big-band rock sound with classic hits, pop jams and, of course, Latin jams.
“We really wanted it to be different,” Baturin said of the planning stages with the Lodge. “The (common) theme (for events) this year is Prohibition, but we wanted to do something different.”
So when the Vernon Lodge proposed a Latin carnival theme, they knew they had found their niche.
“We all just kind of jumped on it,” Baturin said. “We all had these different ideas, and that was the one we thought, ‘Yeah. Let’s do this.’ It’s going to look great. The Lodge always does such a special job decorating.”
Complete with a variety of culinary options, including Brazilian sliders and Galinhada — chicken stew with yellow curry and coconut rice — it’s a night the Vernon Lodge and Legendary Lake Monsters have been crafting since January.
“It’s a lot of work to put on an event like this and it really becomes a community event,” Szeliga said, noting that the night also features Latin dance instruction.
“We’re going to be featuring a Latin dance troupe who is going to show us how to rumba, cha-cha and salsa,” Baturin said.
And, for Baturin and Szeliga, having a large dance floor available is an integral part of the show.
“When we started the band, that was the whole idea,” Szeliga said of the group he founded about five years ago.
Baturin, who joined the band in 2014, agreed.
“We wanted to be unique. We do a wide range of music and are always on the lookout for new material,” she said. “We bring people together to give them a taste of something out of the ordinary.”
And they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“The hardest part is to get the initial momentum,” Szeliga said. “We’re well past that now. It’s fun to create an event that’s of a good size and you can see all of the people coming from the community to enjoy themselves.”
For Legendary Lake Monsters, seeing the audience enjoy themselves is what it’s all about.
“It’s about the joy of music, making people happy so they can cover themselves in the magic of music,” Baturin said. “I feel so honoured and privileged to be a member of this group.”
“Any time we play somewhere, it’s a 12 hour event,” he said. “But it’s all worthwhile when you role home at 2 a.m.”
The Legendary Lake Monsters and Vernon Lodge present New Year’s Eve Carnival Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $75 each at the Lodge, as well as room rates starting at $75. Stay tuned to the Legendary Lake Monsters’ Facebook page and the Vernon Lodge for promotional contests.