More than 600 guests are expected to attend Near & Far Aid's 15th anniversary gala on March 4, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Mitchells of Westport, 670 Post Road East.

Since 2000, the event has raised $8 million for more than 100 Fairfield County charities and this year's event is expected to bring in more than one-half million dollars.

The event, which this year has "Italian Carnevale" as its theme, will include cocktails and light supper, a "Best of Spring Fashion Masquerade," Cirque-like performers throughout the store, music and several different auctions. Venetian-style masks will be given to guests at the door.

Near & Far Aid is an all-volunteer organization working to end poverty in Fairfield County, and provides funding for projects that address the causes and effects of poverty. Its grants help support programs for families at risk, adults in crisis, homelessness, elderly care and education in economically depressed areas. The group focuses on agencies that deliver care to those living at or below the poverty line.

Tickets cost $300 and $400, and proceeds benefit Near & Far Aid. The group plans to use all of the net proceeds for grants to be distributed over the next fiscal year.

For more information, visit www.nearandfar.org and www.mitchellsonline.com.