The Key Peninsula community celebrated Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) with a dinner dance for the third consecutive year, and a good time was had by all. Photo by Ed Johnson, KP news

The piano-accordion was pumping, the barbecue smoker was smoking, and the people were having fun. For a little while on Feb. 6, the Key Peninsula Civic Center might as well have been located in New Orleans.

The Key Peninsula Mardi Gras Masquerade drew a crowd. The third-annual event, a fundraiser benefitting the KPCC, brings in much-needed funds for the nonprofit organization. KPCC uses these funds to foster, protect and promote charitable, literary, youth, educational, civic, social and other activities for the people of Key Peninsula.

Richard Allen and the Louisiana Experience, a popular Zydeco band from Seattle, was on hand to rock locals with fast-paced beats accompanied by accordion and scrubboard.

Allen is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and grew up surrounded by a family of musicians. According to Allen’s website, “Any gathering was a reason to play music and eventually everyone who could play an instrument gathered in a circle and joined in. Men and women with guitars, fiddles, accordions and scrub boards, sometimes more than a dozen at once, worked together in perfect rhythm while voices sang out in French above it all.”

All that early exposure paid off for Allen as he is now a third-generation Zydeco musician. “Richard Allen and the Louisiana Experience provided the appropriate music for the night of revelry,” said Ed Johnson.

When dancing brought on hunger pangs, local favorite Murph’s BBQ returned this year, serving up dirty rice, pork sliders, red beans and rice, coleslaw and Louisiana hots. Murph spends about four hours slow-cooking pork and chicken over a smoker before adding spices, pepper and onions.

Murph has been serving cajun pulled pork at the event for the past three years, although he admits the spices are altered to please the Pacific Northwest palate. “It’s Louisiana-style without being too hot,” Murph said.

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