We're not sure whether it was an affection for Buffalo Bayou or the thrill of tossing a 10-pound bowling ball down an alley that drew the boisterous crowd to Lucky Strike Lanes for CultureMap's "Bowling for Boats" fundraiser.
Whatever the attraction, it was a cool crowd that spread across the white leather sofas and perched at the bar of the chic bowling alley's private party room. More than 150 mid-week revelers joined the bowling fray to help raise funds for the replacement of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's pontoon boat, destroyed by vandals in July.
There were those who came for party bowling like Allison Mione, Pat Mione and Dennis Baker. They fairly monopolized one lane until they eventually had to share with Cori McLaughlin, Chris Fields and Adam Rodriguez.
The sport was so popular that there was a waiting list for the lanes and a few didn't get their time with the pins almost until the bewitching hour. By then, the revelry had reached "Super Bowl" levels as bowlers and observers jumped for joy, shouted and cheered with each strike. Noisy fun for sure.
Most of those queried had turned out actually in support of the partnership. They love the bayou. Their kids love the bayou. They had done bat tours on The Osprey. They had joined in foodie tours on The Osprey. It seemed everyone had a story about the torched pontoon boat.
The most outrageous tale of all or rather the wackiest take on the vandalism came from James Sivco. "It was the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's Pearl Harbor. It was a sneak attack. And the entire fleet was lost," he quipped.
Partnership director Anne Olson beamed throughout the bowling bash not only because the greenbacks poured in but also because the party introduced a fresh wave of interested people to the mission. "It's really a new audience," she said.
That audience included Nicole Laurent, Carey Kirkpatrick, Courtney Hurst, Joel Luks, Elan Rogers, Cat Patson, Deborah Thorn, Stephanie Wilkinson, Carly and Paul Burns, Shaena Choi and Constantine Lau. They sipped on libations from Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and ordered sliders, crab burgers, pizzas and BLTs with fries from the Lucky Strike yummy bar menu.
Contributions to date total approximately $25,000 and with $60,000 from insurance, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership is closing in on its goal of $100,000. That amount will allow purchase of a new boat, increased security and creation of a maintenance fund. So this dreary cloud of a story — the vandalism — does indeed have a silver lining.