FUSION arts festival: Food, folks and fun

Melissa Arena of Metropolitan Market prepares Pasta al la Vodka during the FUSION festival Aug. 6. - Andy Hobbs, The Mirror
Melissa Arena of Metropolitan Market prepares Pasta al la Vodka during the FUSION festival Aug. 6.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs, The Mirror

The evening was full of sparkling jewelry, vibrant art, lavish food, splendid entertainment and plenty of giving.

FUSION's 15th annual Summer Art Benefit, "A Gatsby Soiree," took place Wednesday at Dumas Bay Centre. Between ticket sales, auctioned items, art sales and donations, FUSION (Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed, and Needy) hoped to raise about $100,000 to assist families in need of transitional housing.

The event began at 3 p.m. and wrapped up at 9 p.m. Spotted among the crowd were several attendees attempting to cool off from the scorching sun with makeshift fans. Meanwhile, volunteers scurried around dressed in 1920s fashion clothing.

Seen among the crowd was a tall man, dressed in a purple suit. A few men clothed in trousers and fedora hats and several women dressed as flappers were also spotted. Feathers, ribbon and sequins were plentiful.

Each artist booth contained clues for a game to name the Federal Way Great Gatsby.

Gourmet food was prepared by Metropolitan Market employees and served throughout the festival by FUSION volunteers. Festival attendees noshed on steak kabobs, chicken satay, cheesecake, pasta al la vodka, fruit on a skewer and more.

On stage, the Uptown Lowdown Jazz band played and soon after, a couple cascaded around the dance floor in a show of flowing white gown and black coat tails.

Ruth Rocke and Lila Candoo, both from Northeast Tacoma, were taking it all in. The women became interested in the non-profit organization through a friend. They attend the event annually to support those in need.

Neither woman purchased any of the art or participated in the silent or live auctions. They come simply to people-watch and check out what garments others wore, Candoo said.

FUSION volunteer Jennifer Brown-Wiggins took a moment to place a bid on an auction item early in the evening. Brown-Wiggins has volunteered with FUSION for the past three years.

"I believe in giving back," she said. "Everything can't be about money."

The organization aimed to have 800 people at the event and raise $100,000. A final count of attendees and money raised was not available at press time Thursday. The funds will be used to support families in need of temporary shelter as they transition into permanent housing. It will offset FUSION's operating costs for one year, event chair Kelsey Kovach said.

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