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Gran Ballo in Valletta

The capital's Strait Street will go through a time machine tomorrow as people in Venetian masks and period costumes waltz through the narrow street for the Gran Ballo La Valletta.

This is the fifth consecutive year this grand carnival masquerade is being organised by Y's Friends, businesses from the city who support YMCA Homeless, to raise funds for the homeless shelter Dar Niki Cassar.

The event has sparked interest in the more cultural and elegant aspect of carnival and each year more and more people turn up wearing colourful, flowing robes and masks.

This year's theme - La Tragica Opera In Maschera, Un Gran Ballo In Due Atti - should provide ample fodder for the imagination and if people don't show up in costume, they have to turn up in Black Tie and still don a mask.

The event's general coordinator, Edgar Mifsud explained that the event was intended to revive some of the carnival traditions dating back to the time of the Knights of St John.

The organisers know that Valletta can be transformed into a city of dreams, full of dancing candlelight shadows, an air of mystery, with the sound of revelry filling the crisp, February air; where masks hide faces, and where music fills the soul. Reality turns to fantasy, and the mood becomes enchanting.

This year the event will start off with an exclusive gala dinner at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta.

The group will then proceed through Strait Street for coffee and dessert, where the guests will be treated to street theatre and entertainment.

Afterwards, the ball begins. The main theatre floor of the Manoel Theatre has been converted into the most elegant ballroom and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a bottle of champagne in one of the tiers, or simply enjoy the entertainment.

The event kicks off at 8.30 p.m. and the cost is a donation of €50 (Lm21.47), which goes towards YMCA Homeless. For tickets one can call 9949 9618 or 2122 1435. Betfair is supporting the event.

Meanwhile, those who wish to help YMCA Homeless and pledge year-round support or for more information can visit www.ymcahomeless.org or call 2122 8035.

For a donation of Lm2 (€4.66) send an SMS to 5061 8088, or for Lm5 (€11.65) send an SMS to 5061 9212.

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