Key Peninsula Civic Center’s first Mardi Gras event will have music, food

A&E: Festival in Vaughn will be headlined by 1960s singer Merrilee Rush

of the GatewayFebruary 5, 2014 

Merilee Rush will play along with Gabriel at the Key Peninsula Civic Center Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday.


The first Mardi Gras Music Festival in Vaughn will rock the Key Peninsula Civic Center on Saturday.

Authentic Southern food and a lineup of local talent will be featured at the 21-and-older event. Tacoma’s Kim Archer Band and Seattle’s Filé Gumbo, Gabriel and Merrilee Rush will perform.

Proceeds will go to the Key Peninsula Civic Center Association. The best-dressed guests will be crowned king and queen of the costume parade through the venue.

Rush is best known for her 1968 chart-topper “Angel of the Morning.” She is a member of the Northwest Area Music Association Hall of Fame and was a vocal performance nominee at the 1969 Grammys. She’ll perform with the band Gabriel, whose biggest record, “Martha,” stormed up to No. 32 on the Billboard Charts in 1977.

Rush said Gabriel is one of her favorite bands from the Northwest. This will be about the fourth event they’ve played together, she said.

“We just get up and have fun,” she said.

Filé Gumbo, from Seattle, will bring Zydeco Cajun flavor to the venue with accordions, washboards and guitars.

The Kim Archer Band will play a set of heavy funk roots-rock, similar to Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt.

Murph’s BBQ will serve up traditional Fat Tuesday fare such as red beans and rice, dirty rice and King cake from 6 to 9 p.m. Cocktails will bring a taste of Bourbon Street to Vaughn, and Lakebay’s Blend Wine Shop will provide beer and wine. Rush and Gabriel will perform late and hope to keep the party hopping.

“I’m hoping everybody stays awake,” Rush said with a laugh. “We’ll make them dance.”

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. The price includes entry and meal.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Blend Wine Shop, the Key Peninsula Civic Center, Sunnycrest Nursery and Floral, Allstar Guitar in Gig Harbor or at

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