Masquerade Bowl to offer plenty of fun for a good cause in Whitehall

Stephanie Hacke
| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

With flashy masks on their faces and rows of beads around their necks, attendees at this year's Masquerade Bowl will be whisked away to New Orleans for the spicy food, fruity cocktails and all of the flair of Mardi Gras.

“They can pretend they're on Bourbon Street with all of their beads,” said Kelly Joyce, marketing manager with Princess Lanes, which is hosting the event.

The third annual “Masquerade Bowl,” will be held at Princess Lanes and Prior's Tap & Tavern in Caste Village Shoppes on April 20 at 7 p.m. It serves as a fundraiser for Autism Connection of PA and the Caste Family Fund. Both organizations raise money to support families who have children with autism spectrum disorder, Joyce said.

Tickets are $25 each and include a complimentary drink, food, and, of course, bowling. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online by going to www.autism-support.org.

The Caste Family Fund — a donor-advised fund under the Pittsburgh Foundation — was started three years ago to help support organizations such as Autism Connection of PA, which provided the family with support when Vaughn, the son of Tom Caste, president of Caste Real Estate Co., and his wife Gwen Ritchie, was diagnosed with autism, they said in an email to friends and family.

“It's just so prevalent,” Joyce said of the disorder, which a good friend's son has. “The effects are profound, really. It's not just for the families. This affects everyone around them. If you don't live it, you don't see it and you have no idea what people go through.”

April is Autism Awareness Month and therefore the perfect time to raise money to support families dealing with the disease, Joyce said. The event has raised more than $10,000 in the last two years.

Major sponsors this year include Gianna Via's, PNC Bank, Tendercare Learning Center, InCommunity Magazine, Goldberg Kamin & Garvin, Sentric and Brentwood Beer Distributor.

This year's fundraiser will include a more casual atmosphere, with a guest appearance from 96.1 Kiss-FM Morning Freak Show hosts Mike Dougherty and Bob Mason, more commonly referred to as “Mikey and Big Bob.”

The radio hosts will be at the bowling center between 8 and 10 p.m. to mingle with attendees, call updates into the radio station and, of course, wear some of the most outrageous masks of the night, Joyce said.

“I'm going to deck them out myself,” she joked.

Cocktail hour will run from 7 to 8 p.m., with appetizers and a scaled-down version of the popular Mardi Gras beverage, the Hurricane.

At 8 p.m., attendees will enter the main bowling center, where there will be a cash bar, 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction.

There will be four food centralized food stations, with Jambalaya pizza, Cajun shrimp skewers, gumbo and Caste Village's own Gianna Via's bruschetta table.

Bowling lanes, also, will be open during the night. And feel free to keep those masks while taking to the lanes.

“You'll see women out there in their evening dresses with masks on, bowling,” Princess Lanes general manager Bruce Wright said. “It's a great event. I have never met a person who has not had a great time there. Every year, it's gotten better.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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