Island spirit pay dividends for Carson Kiwanis

Bust out the flowered necklaces and shove an apple in the pig's mouth - it's time to raise some money.

No matter what the weather outside the Carson Nugget on Saturday night, the grand ballroom will have a decidedly tropical - and very charitable - atmosphere.

Saturday marks the return of the Carson City Kiwanis Luau. For the 19th time, the service organization will put on a tropical-themed fundraiser to support a variety of local philanthropic interests.

"This is one of our largest fundraisers. We use it to raise funds that are put back into the community," club President Ken Haskins said.

The event is from 6-11 p.m. Saturday and will feature Polynesian foods and entertainment centered around the event's theme, "Blue Hawaii."

Haskins said past events have featured Polynesian dance and musical groups as the entertainment, but organizers decided to take a different path for the 2006 edition.

"With the theme being 'Blue Hawaii', we decided to go a different way and gear it more toward rock 'n' roll, especially around Elvis Presley," Haskins said.

The headliner for the show will be Wanda Jackson, a singer who dated and toured with the King. Opening for her will be Charlie Gracie, who has performed on "American Bandstand," had one of his hits, "Fabulous," covered by Paul McCartney and recently toured with Van Morrison.

"These are two of the rock 'n' roll's pioneers who are still making music," Haskins said. "We have two really very talented acts performing for us."

Opening the show and serving as the house band for both performers is the "Heat Seekers," a rock-a-billy style band from Gardnerville.

"This is an honor for us," said lead singer Rob Morrison. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We listened to these guys even before we met them. It's been challenging to us, but we have enjoyed it."

The band consists of Morrison, his brother, Kevin, on bass and drummer Josh Shehorn.

New to the luau this year will be a meet and greet event held for one hour beginning at 5 p.m., allowing patrons to talk with all of the performers. Tickets for the meet and greet are $15.

The luau also includes a silent auction featuring everything from small dinner packages to larger trips and vacations.

Haskins said more than 350 people are expected to take part in the event, which in 2005 raised more than $14,000 to aid local programs that support the elderly and children.

"We rely on these fundraisers to help us provide support to many organizations. We offer academic scholarships but also trade scholarships. We also participate in the Meals on Wheels and river clean up programs," he said. "This money goes to help do a lot of things."

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

If You Go

What: 19th annual Carson City Kiwanis Luau fundraiser.

When: Meet and greet 5-6 p.m.; luau 6-11 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Grand Ballroom of the Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St.

Tickets: $35 for the luau, including dinner and entertainment and $15 for the meet-and-greet session.

Call: 232-3510


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