The biggest annual fundraiser for The Center Orange County in recent years has been its classy Indigo Ball, held each spring and which this year raised $250,000. But what do you think is the second-biggest annual fundraiser for The Center? Here's a hint: it involves 10 pins and a heavy ball.
That's right, it's a bowling event. But not just any bowling event. It's the Haunted Homobowl, where hurling a bowling ball down a lane and trying to hit some pins is just part of the fun. You also get to wear the outlandish Halloween costume of your choice while doing it.
The Haunted Homobowl doesn't take place until Friday, Oct. 25, but has become such a hot ticket that it sells out pretty quickly. This year’s event is expected to raise at least $30,000.
“Everyone says this is the most fun event of the year for us. The Halloween costumes always make it pretty interesting,” says Kaeli Benvenuto, the Center's development manager. “This started out as a fun event put together by volunteers, but in the past five
years it has grown and become more formalized.”
The event takes place at 300 Anaheim, located in the Anaheim Garden Walk. On its Facebook page, the venue describes itself as “anything but your grandfather's bowling alley.” It features state-of-the-art lanes, floor-to-ceiling video screens and lane-side food and drink service.
“It's a cool bowling alley with a very clubby atmosphere; not your typical bowling alley—it's a little bit sexier,” Benvenuto says. “It is definitely not a hard sell; it's very casual. People dress up, but it's dress-up in a fun way. There's a lot of socializing with people you might not see at some of the other Orange County events.”
“The bowling is almost like a secondary thing,” she adds. “No one is bowling like they are in a league and have to get that perfect 300 score. We haven't had to put bumpers up for anyone yet, but that's not to say we couldn't do it. It's a fun excuse to get together.”
About 225 people can be accommodated. With a limited number of lanes, teams can be expanded from six to 10 members to give more people a chance to participate.
The increase in participants at $65 per individual ticket (group rates and VIP lanes can also be purchased) is one way the event has increased its fundraising.
But there is also an added feature this year—a bowl-a-thon, which works in the same way as various walk-a-thons do with participants getting sponsors to help them raise money. Prizes will be given to the top fundraising teams and individuals.
The event will also feature a silent auction with such items as weekend getaways and spa packages up for bid.
The Haunted Homobowl will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 300 Anaheim is located at 321 West Katella Avenue in Anaheim.
To get tickets before they sell out go to thecenteroc.org/events_homobowl.php