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June 29. 2012

GIFT bowling tournament grows to fill new lanes

Cleveland--Celebrating its 24th anniversary, the Cleveland GLBT Invitational Fellowship Tournament and Cruise rolled through the North Coast the weekend of June 8 to 10, again exceeding organizers’ expectations.

The bowling tournament was moved to Freeway Lanes in Parma to increase the number of bowlers to 160, but despite the move, the popularity of the tournament also increased, meaning a second year of interested bowlers being turned away because organizers had already reached the registration limit at the alley.

Eric Strong, a member of the Cleveland GIFT Committee, attributes the success to keeping the registration fee to $69, a convenient host hotel in the Marriott-Cleveland Airport, and exceeding the $10,000 planned prize money. Thanks to sponsors Miller Lite, Storm, Twist Social Club, BKF Computer Services, the Marriott and Republic Services, as well as the fundraising of the committee throughout the year, the prize pool was actually over $13,000.

An additional cash raffle raised $4,500, and three Storm bowling balls were given away in another raffle. The bowler with the lowest All Events total took home a new Brunswick ball as a consolation prize.

The annual GIFT Cruise aboard the Goodtime III drew 720 people, the second-highest in the cruise’s history. The only time attendance was higher was in the first year aboard the Goodtime III, when 800 people joined the cruise. The crew established a 700-person cap after that for safety reasons, but the captain relaxed the limit this year because of heavy demand.

Lounge Kitty again kept people dancing throughout the cruise, while others strolled the deck and enjoyed the views of lake and shore.

The 25th anniversary cruise will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

The tournament, which saw 160 bowlers representing 72 cities in nine states and one Canadian province, partied to the theme “Back to the ’80s,” in honor of when the tournament started. Donations were given to Malachi House, the Cleveland LGBT Center and the AIDS Taskforce at the awards banquet on Sunday.

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