The Bourbon County Speakeasy hosted Mardi Gras for Murals Saturday evening. 

The event is was a fundraiser for the Hot Springs Cultural Development Organization (CDO). The CDO is the nonprofit organization responsible for putting up the murals seen on many of Hot Springs' buildings. 

Mardi Gras for Murals also served as a test run for Bourbon County's new expansion. 

The speakeasy grew into the neighboring building for the first time to host the fundraiser. 

Owner, Jeff Consoer, explained, "One of the original goals of my business was to create a space for social gatherings and events. I've held many events since opening and several of those could have been larger if we had more space."

Bourbon County Speakeasy was opened in August of 2016. 

In addition to gaining square footage, Consoer wants to step into the food industry, "I hope to have some expanded food service functional by May." 

He explain further that the work required to expand the business is why the speakeasy is only open Fridays and Saturdays currently. 

Consoer shared his plans for the River Street business, "The vision I have is to continue creating special events, but also for the business to be a hub of social connection for the community as well as outside the community."

The dim, laid-back ambiance of the bar fit well with the CDO's New Orleans themed party. 

In the past, CDO's events have been larger events like the Evening of Wine and Roses. Generally, they were sit-down dinners with themes, silent auctions, live auctions and entertainment. 

As the name suggests, Saturday's event was a little more relaxed. There was live music courtesy of local musicians, Marty Meyer and Jarrett Weimer.

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Activities included: a Mardi Gras mask making station, a pancake flipping contest, a best-mask competition and several drawings. 

The best-mask competition was fairly casual. The top five masks were selected after a brief runway show. The crowd then voted on their favorite mask via cheering. The competition was won by Stachia Walker. Her mask was hand crafted out of wire by local artist Marco Horton.  

Many raffle prizes were donated by local business. The 50-50 raffle was won by John Pence. In a gesture fitting the night's altruistic atmosphere, he donated the winnings back to the CDO. 

The funds generated by Marti Gras for murals are for the CDO's next mural colaberation. Specific details about the mural have yet to be realeased, but CDO president, Diane Gross was able to say that it will be in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club. 

The focus of CDO's murals is the history of Hot Springs. Stay in tune with the CDO and Boys and Girls Club for more information regarding the upcoming mural. 

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