By KATE MILEWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — Keeping a nonprofit ski hill up and running isn't all fun and games, but Mt. Holiday employee Norm Bowbeer is hoping to add a few laughs to the fundraising process. Bowbeer is putting on the first Mt. Holiday Comedy Fundraiser to benefit the maintenance department at the recreation area at 6 p.m. today.
Bowbeer, who also hosts comedy night at Turtle Creek Casino, has heard many people mention the lack of open mic venues in Traverse City, so he decided to give local would-be comics an outlet and raise money for the ski hill all at once.
"We have old lifts and old tubes and we need money to buy new stuff," he said. "I just took the best of both things."
The revenue, which will come from registration fees from the comics, donations (which are all tax deductible) and an auction, will go entirely for things like new tools and parts.
Though this is the first time the fundraiser is taking place, reception has been good so far. Bowbeer has lined up nine local amateur comics plus comedienne Marti Johnson to be a guest judge. Johnson will also do an opening and closing set.
Comics can choose to either perform in the open mic segment or compete. For the competition, the registered comics will vie to win the coveted "Biggest Tool" trophy — made by Bowbeer himself using rusty tools and driftwood — through three five-minute sets of original material.
There's no charge to attend the event, which has garnered donations from local businesses, including gift cards from M22 and Diversions, as well as local restaurants, which will be used as prizes for the comics and for the auction.
While the comedy night will be fun, the ultimate goal is to raise $2,000 for the ski hill Bowbeer loves.
"I know the condition and it's not bad, but things break and we need new parts," he said. "I love that ski hill. It should be a lot of fun, a night of laughter and fundraising.
"There's nothing wrong with that."
To donate or perform, contact Bowbeer at MtHComedy@gmail.com.