Bocce game rounds out summer
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Westmoreland County Commissioner Chuck Anderson has been teaming up with Westmoreland Cultural Trust volunteer Dick Flock for the past five years in the annual Bocci nel Giardino to benefit the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.
And more than once they came close to winning.
"A couple years ago, we were beat out by about 3 inches," Mr. Anderson said, laughing.
The two will test their bocce skills again Aug. 25 at the benefit, celebrating its 11th year, at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.
"It's a wonderful time to celebrate life and a good cause. The Cultural Trust brings so much to the people of the community," he said.
The Westmoreland Cultural Trust manages the historical, cultural and entertainment district, primarily located in Greensburg. It also manages the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.
Last year's tournament and dinner raised between $14,000 and $15,000, said Mike Langer, trust president.
The money goes toward the operation of the Palace Theater, he said.
Opened in 1926, the theater attracts more than 55,000 patrons a year to about 90 events.
Bocci nel Giardino, which means "bocce in the garden," is a casual summer celebration that draws about 250 attendees.
"Not everyone plays. Normally, we have 45 two-man teams; the rest of the folks watch or listen to the DJ," Mr. Langer said. Technical personnel from the Palace Theater will provide this year's entertainment.
Bocce is an Italian game that is played officially on clay courts with side boards. The goal is to get your ball closest to a small ball. Like the version popular at summer picnics, this variety is played on grass.
The night before this competition, teams are able to practice on the Garden Center's courts "and find out where the bumps are in the lawn," Mr. Anderson said.
And as laid-back as the atmosphere may seem at the beginning of game play, the competition becomes fierce as teams advance through the tournament bracket.
A couple of years ago, General Carbide president Mona Pappafava-Ray and her partner made it to the finals -- against their husbands. They lost, but were still pleased with their finish.
"I usually never make it beyond the first round," she said, adding that she doesn't play bocce other than at this benefit each year. "Playing is so much fun. You need to have absolutely no skills and I prove that year in and year out. But it has been the best end-of-summer event. It's fabulous."
Tickets for general admission and bocce play can be purchased by calling the Cultural Trust at 724-836-1123. Cost is $50 to attend and $25 to play.
First Published August 2, 2012 5:15 am