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Locals dress up for the Masquerade Ball fundraiser

woman spinning hula hoop
A performer spins hula hoops during the Masquerade Ball at the Hilton on Oct. 12. The Center for Family Outreach hoped to raise $75,000 for adolescents struggling with mental health and substance abuse. (Megan McGregor | Collegian)

The Center for Family Outreach decided to dress things up for its second annual Masquerade Ball this past weekend at the Fort Collins Hilton. 

The Center For Family Outreach primarily focuses on offering education, prevention and intervention for family and youth-related issues. Events such as the Masquerade Ball give the nonprofit a chance to raise money and support its programs. 

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“This money goes back into paying for therapists and addiction specialists and then helps with classes to work with kids that have mental health and substance abuse issues,” said Laurie Klith, the executive director of the Center For Family Outreach.

In addition to ticket sales, additional funds came from a silent auction, as well as prize-incentive games.

The ball had all sorts of other antics, including a game of heads or tails. People playing the game would choose heads or tails by putting their hand on their head or back, then the emcee would flip a coin deciding who was out. Participants bought glow in the dark wristbands to enter the game, with the number of wristbands determining how many wrong guesses they could make.

Along with the fundraising events were members of Rainbow Militia, which is a performing arts and circus collective working out of Denver. Rainbow Militia featured aerialists, dancers, fortune tellers and stilt walkers. There was also live music from Fort Collins band After the Fire, as well as various caricature artists. 

There’s a lot of events in Fort Collins, so it’s nice to have something different and that ties in with the season. Normal events are becoming a little worn out, so it’s interesting to have something that nobody else is doing.” -Jill Maasch, organizer of the ball

“We added a few more attractions this year,” Klith said. “Every year we’re going to try to bring something else.” 

The wide array of entertainment led to a lasting crowd for the event. Things like a masquerade ball switch things up and make fundraising more fun and interesting for the community. 

“There’s a lot of events in Fort Collins, so it’s nice to have something different and that ties in with the season,” said Jill Maasch, the director of operations and client services for Mantooth Marketing and Events Company and organizer of the ball. “Normal events are becoming a little worn out, so it’s interesting to have something that nobody else is doing.”

The well-known but rare masquerade theme inspired creativity among attendees, even resulting in a costume contest between five chosen audience members.

Outfits ranged from tuxedos and gowns with elegant masks to full makeup and distinct headpieces. 

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“I made my mask last night using one of those blank masks from a store, some plaster, fake feathers and spray paint,” said Stephen Miller, a masquerade attendee.

The Masquerade Ball is one of two main events that the Center For Family Outreach puts on throughout the year.

“Every year, we do the Spring Breakfast. Usually, we have two to three kids come up and talk about their experiences for that,” Klith said. “Then we do a few golf tournaments. Next year is our 20th anniversary, so we’re going to be doing a few extra things for that.”

For the future, the Center For Family Outreach is expanding not only their operations and outreach, but the scale of their fundraisers and events. 

“One of the things we wanted to do is partner with CSU and its students because (students) can mentor older kids because elementary looks up to middle school, middle school looks up to high school, then they look up to college kids,” Klith said.

Joel Thompson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @probably_joel

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