Le Moulin Rouge paints FUSION green | Nandell Palmer

A scene from the 2012 FUSION summer arts festival at Dumas Bay Centre. - Mirror file photo
A scene from the 2012 FUSION summer arts festival at Dumas Bay Centre.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Americans are fascinated with Paris. And you can count on things Parisian to transform any run-of-the-mill soiree into one of glamour and conviviality should you be stumped for ideas. For ladies especially, Paris is among the top five must-see destinations on their bucket list.

While the national economy is still in the “I-think-can” mode, many of us are forced to forego exotic vacations and settle for those closer to home. Creative minds have even willed international vacation spots to meet us where we are. The power of imagination!

How else would you explain the annual FUSION shindig — the mother of all social events in Federal Way — that transformed the grounds of Dumas Bay Centre into the famed Moulin Rouge a few Wednesdays ago?

And just who can ever fault that corps of gifted volunteers for pushing the envelope to the zenith? If your region’s topography boasts vast expanses of water, verdant fields and hills, complemented by blue skies, why not make the element your canvas? Who needs to go to Paris and Tuscany when they can come to you?

Each summer, FUSION puts on a time-stopping event, one of the grandest highlights of our city. This benevolent organization has been changing women and children’s lives en masse for 19 years, and has made it an art form to tantalize our taste buds and give us a deeper appreciation for life.

It’s impossible to go to one of FUSION’s events and not walk away as a changed person. If you’re in for hobnobbing with local socialites, then that’s the place to be. How about indulging yourself to an A-class cabaret-like treat? That, too, is the spot.

Socially, Federal Way has been gradually inching its way to becoming a city with a robust and sophisticated palate. Coupled with a ton of bragging rights, it is spilling over with many of the affectations for which other noted cities the world over are known.

Our fair city had to dance to the beats of many drums, culturally, to find itself. Nowadays it is a mecca for trendsetting. You don’t have to look long and hard to see some of the great things that are happening here.

Steeped in diversity, top restaurants like Indochine, East India Grill, the Verrazano, among others, can compete with some of the best in New York City. We have Olympians. We have the state-of-the-art aquatic center. And we have Peggy LaPorte – the golden-hearted doyenne of chic, charm, and character.

Le Moulin Rouge, which literally means the “red windmill,” is named for a famous nightclub in Paris. Josephine Baker and Patti LaBelle are two American women of note that have brought much interest over the years of that storied place.

But while Baker was not at FUSION 2012 to perform her cancan dance and LaBelle singing, “Voulez vous coucher avec mo ce soir,” from her 1975 hit — “Lady Marmalade” — we were kept entertained by dancers and live music throughout.

Television personalities Keith Eldridge and Angela King emceed the event. Co-chairs Lorna Chirila and Karen Zimmerman-Garvey executed the mission. Susan Toohey wowed the crowd with her talent as resident designer/decorator.

To give off that Parisian feel, a few men donned tuxedoes and top hats, while a handful of women paraded about regally attired in red and black ensembles, finished off with boas.

And what is Paris without its succulent food? Catered by Café Pacific, frommage station, which dotted the grounds, offered cheeses of all descriptions; herbed crustini, Boules de Picolat (meatballs in Bordelaise); assorted crepes with a béchamel, paired nicely with fine wines, had quite a rendezvous with the senses.

Instead of painting the town red as Le Moulin Rouge is symbolically known, the windmill toned down that temptation and blew the color green all evening. The organization hauled in a record $137,000. It’s just a matter of time before FUSION becomes more renowned nationally and internationally. All it needs now are a few ambassadors and consuls among its estimable audience to give it that global flair. One telephone call to the Seattle’s diplomatic corps from LaPorte could usher in just that.

Overlooking Dumas Bay as the sunset and the evening drew to a close, I felt the grand pampering of the event. The backdrop of colorful wild flowers that jutted above the waterway added to the ambiance that is unmatched by the Seine, the Eiffel Tower or the Champs-Elysées all put together.


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