Holiday Masquerade Ball raises funds for Families Against Narcotics


Photos by Katarina Rothhorn/NW

Event co-organizer Mandy Bonesteel shows off her forest spirit themed masquerade outfit.

Madoline Plattenberg

The Student Leader Fellowship Program hosted a Holiday Masquerade Ball Fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. to raise funds for Families Against Narcotics Marquette, a community nonprofit that helps support people and families experiencing addiction.

For the public, the cost to attend the ball was $10. Students could attend for free but were encouraged to donate online to Families Against Narcotics Marquette, Mandy Bonesteel, a first-year graduate student majoring in public administration, said.

“They can also buy a raffle ticket for $1 during the event. We have a ton of prizes including pottery, art and gift cards that are really great [donations] from local organizations and businesses. So, [there are] lots of ways to support,” Bonesteel said.

Friends, family and students, were welcome to attend the masquerade ball. Dressing up was optional for anyone attending but donning a mask was encouraged to be entered in a costume contest where the audience cheered for the best dressed. During the ball, informational pamphlets about FAN were available in addition to NARCAN as well as archives, Bonesteel said.

Over 140 people attended the ball with more than $1,000 raised for the community non-profit. Attendees were able to enjoy a variety of food from NMU catering including pizza, deviled eggs, mushrooms, cake, donut holes, chips and salsa

. A DJ played a variety of music from early 2000s hits to instrumental pieces and people had the opportunity to dance on a wooden dance floor in the Northern Center Ballrooms.

Winner of the best-dressed costume contest, Kaitlyn Spiegl, a senior German major, dressed up for the ball but did not expect to win, or even enter, the costume contest.

“My friend randomly poked me and said ‘hey, you should go up,’” Spiegl said. “I was like ‘What?! How!?’ That was not my intention to win, but it happened.”

The theme of Spiegl’s costume is in reference to the 1700s with a white ruffled shirt and blue waistcoat with gold buttons.

Bonesteel, alongside Yasmine Phillips, a senior majoring in speech language and hearing sciences, and Morgan Goss, a junior majoring in psychology, headed the project as part of completing their 100-hour Student Leader Fellowship Program community service internship with FAN.

The trio decided to fundraise for t

his organization as Bonesteel sits on the advisory board of FAN. Bonesteel said she helped start the chapter during her work with the Community Action Alger-Marquette within her AmeriCorps VISTA role with the Opioid Prevention and Education Network. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever organized this big of an event, and a fundraiser, and it’s been a good learning experience for me on how to plan large community events,” Bonesteel said.

FAN originally began in Macomb County, Michigan and has since spread to over two dozen counties throughout Michigan, with Marquette being the latest chapter.

“What they do is they really provide support for people in recovery, families who have a loved one in recovery or experiencing addiction, those who have a loved one who has passed away from an overdose, and they really work to reduce the stigma in the community around substance use disorders,” Bonesteel said.

The idea for the theme of the event was spurred by one of Bonesteel’s passions: musical theater.

“I love musicals and I just love an excuse to go and get dressed up and have fun. I love Phantom of the Opera, and when I heard that it was ending, I was like, ‘oh, a masquerade ball. It would be a fun, unique event to do,’” Bonesteel said.

Phillips, who headed the project alongside Bonesteel and Goss, said she helped with organizing and accomplishing a majority of the community outreach for the program. She said the fundraiser needed a theme that was more profound.

“We just wanted something different. Marquette needed something a little more out there, and it’s the holiday season so we gave everyone an excuse to get dressed up and have a good time,” Phillips said.

Those that attended or were not able should remember how important it is to reach out to those who may be affected by addictions, Phillips said.

“It is important to provide resources to those dealing with addictions. We have NARCAN here tonight, so giving resources, even if you do not know someone affected, it’s still important to become aware,” Phillips said. “If in the future you come across somebody with or impacted by a substance use disorder, you can inform them.”