24 years later, still partying ugly with a purpose
09:32 PM, Jul 27, 2013
Ashley Schinzing screamed with delight as she flew down the 300-foot slip-n-slide at the Ten Ugly Men festival Saturday.
“It’s a beautiful day,” said the 25-year-old Rochester resident. “Why not spend it in the sunshine listening to music and going down the slip-n-slide?”
Around 4,300 people swarmed Genesee Valley Park, taking to tents and lawn chairs for the all-day event. Many carried mugs of beer, and danced to music or played games with their friends.
“People were ready to enjoy the day and we were a vehicle to help them do that,” said Steve Bartolotta, lead singer of the classic rock band Tempest, which performed Saturday afternoon.
Sports and games were a big draw: Organizers estimated that the Kickball League of Rochester brought 500 players, and around 600 players signed up for the volleyball tournament, making it one of the largest in the area.
Vincenzo Pace, 40, of Brighton came to TUM to support a friend who was playing volleyball.
“Watching the games has been fun and relaxing,” he said. “Everyone is just here to have a good time and you can feel it.”
But behind the good time were good causes: TUM will donate all $50,000 raised to area charities: Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Bright Eyes Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund, Equicenter, St Marys Oncology Center and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
A few teams lightened the mood by wearing costumes. Mark Reynolds, 42, of Brighton and his three teammates dressed up as Chippendales, the all-male exotic dancers cuffs and cufflinks, but no shirts.
Shannon Pille, 43, of Ontario has been volunteering at TUM for three years.
“It’s actually kind of fun because you get to meet lots of different people,” Pille said.
This marked the 24th year for the festival, which got its start when the nonprofit 10 Ugly Men, Inc. was founded in 1989 by a group of young professionals. Since then, the organization has raised millions for charity, mostly by throwing parties like Saturday’s.
“If you are going to devote a Saturday in the summer, you want to make sure you get the most out of it,” Bartolotta said.