Friday March 02, 2012 | 12:00 AM

More than a foot of snow fell in Portland today. Schools shut down, offices closed early and many business just didn't open. But the snow storm couldn't stop 200 members of the Contemporaries group at the Portland Museum of Art from turning out for the annual Winter Bash. Called Voila and with a bohemian black tie dress code, this year's party took a French turn in honor of the "Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist," which opened last week. As a special treat, artist Pierre Vezina created the ballet dancer sculptures, complete with tutus and each in a different ballet position, rising about the crowd in the photo above.

Upstairs in the Great Hall guests enjoyed a Champagne tasting and cocktails made with St. Germain. Meanwhile, museum staffers Caitlin Brooke and Lindsay Garcia perched near the bar sketching the party scene.

Downstairs the absinthe and chocolate bar paired perfectly with the bohemian look sported by Paul and Jillian Blakeslee. L.L. Bean provided the sharp shirts worn by the bartenders and waitstaff.

Also downstairs, photographer Nathan Eldridge was snapping portraits and handing out black and white prints. As the night wore on, he accumulated quite a line waiting to get one of his sought-after snapshots.

But the most telling sight of the evening could be spotted in the coat room, where winter boots and wellies lined the walls. They provided proof that Maine women know how to brave a snow storm in an evening gown. The trick is a warm coat and a pair of fancy shoes to slip on before joining the festivities.

Don't forget to pick up a copy of this weekend's Maine Sunday Telegram, where my weekly Society Notebook column will have many more photos and additional details from tonight's top-notch party.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or
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