Celebrating Mardi Gras can bring out the hedonist in you. To feel a little less sinful, why not participate in a festivity that helps those in need? This year, Beads for Needs — a nonprofit organization that assists underprivileged children in Charlotte — is bringing its version of New Orleans' French quarter to Whisky River. Food, wine, beer, beads and live entertainment are abundant at this fundraiser for The Speedway Children's Charities. - Tricia Bangit $35. Fri., Feb. 17, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Whisky River, 210 E. Trade St. 704-749-1097. www.thewhiskyriver.com.