Love, Mardis Gras style: Pioneer Playhouse carries on Mardi Gras Valentine’s tradition

Published 2:22 pm Monday, February 6, 2017


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Four years ago, Pioneer Playhouse began a tradition of merging Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras into a unique night of dinner, dancing and fundraising to help Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre continue its 68 year-old mission of bringing theatre arts to central Kentucky.

This year the 2017 Mardi Gras Valentine’s Bash will be held 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. The cost is $35 per person and includes an authentic Cajun dinner, featuring jambalaya, etoufee, red beans and rice as well as smoked chicken and salad. A non-alcoholic beverage and dessert comes with the meal. A cash bar serving wine, beer and spirits will be open to those 21 and older.


“It started as a one-off thing,” says Heather Henson, daughter of founder, Eben C. Henson, and current managing director of the historic theatre. “But it’s turned into a yearly event. It’s often cold, sometimes snowing. But we’re lucky that we’ve always had a great turn out. I think folks are ready to get out in the middle of February and have some fun — and we definitely have fun!”

A dance band is always the evening’s main entertainment, and this year Pioneer Playhouse is excited to bring in a group new to the event: Soul Revue, featuring local entertainer, Michael Fly Hughes.

Soul Revue Brothers -2-

“Soul Revue will be playing R&B hits and Motown classics,” Henson says. “It’s a terrific band with great musicians, singers and entertainers. I know our regulars will love listening and dancing to their music. Plus I believe Soul Revue will bring in a few new faces as well.”

As per tradition, a silent auction will held during dinner from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Items this year include artwork by local artists such as David Farmer, EJ Waters, Paul Muth and Judy Schaefer; tickets to local and regional attractions, such as The Norton Center, The Stephen Foster Story, West T. Hill, Shakertown, The Kentucky Horse Park; gift baskets from Wilderness Trail, Buffalo Trace and Kentucky Soaps and Such; gift certificates to local restaurants such as Bluebird Café, Cue and The Hub, plus much more.


“We always want to emphasize that even though this is a Valentine’s event, perfect for couples, it’s also a great way to get a group of friends together. We have a bunch of regulars who’ve been gathering every year. They reserve a big table together and just have a blast.”

Ann Yager Hamlin McCrosky photos

Photo by Ann Yager Hamlin McCrosky 

Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville. The 2017 Mardi Gras Valentine’s Bash will be held inside the indoor theater. Reservations are required, and tickets (which are non-refundable) must be paid for in advance. All proceeds go to Pioneer Playhouse, which is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Tickets are available on line at or by calling the box office at (859) 236-2747.