Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash returns to Cape

Monday, December 9, 2013
Heather Ford drops off a toy at Rude Dog Pub in 2011 for Happy Slapowitz's Toy Bash. (Fred Lynch)

A night of food and music is planned for several downtown venues that are taking part Thursday in the annual Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash.

The event, now in its 12th year, will feature nine bands at eight venues in an effort to provide new Christmas toys for children through the Marine Corps League's Toys For Tots program.

"It's amazing to see how much the event has grown over the years," said Ryan Eftink, a co-founder of the Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash. "When the event first began, we never dreamed that it would be this successful."

According to Eftink, the toy bash had its inception as a house party in 2001.

"It started out at a house I shared with some roommates," he said. "But instead of just throwing a party, we wanted to make it count for something. We made it so that if you showed up with a toy for Toys For Tots you could eat barbecue and drink all night long. Over 100 people showed up."

Based on the strength of the inaugural toy bash, Eftink said it needed to be moved to a venue capable of housing the number of people who might attend.

"We reached out to the Rude Dog Pub," he said. "The owners agreed with us that it was for a great cause and we started having the event there. That's where we came up with calling it the 'Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash.'"

Mark Weber, a co-owner of the Rude Dog Pub, 123 N. Main St., said the venue's original name was the "Happy Slapowitz's Rude Dog Pub," but the name never caught on.

"We kind of dropped 'Happy Slapowitz' from the bar's name," Weber said. "It never really made it. But with the toy bash, the name lives on in a proud way."

The toy bash was at the Rude Dog Pub for three years after the original house party, but the event grew too large to be held in one place. Other venues joined in hosting toy-bash events in the following years, and in 2012 about $18,000 in toys and cash was raised for Toys For Tots, a record amount.

"We're aiming to beat that amount this year," Eftink said.

Richard Bollwerk, coordinator of the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots, said the toy bash is one of the best toy-collection programs the league has.

"I can't say enough about what they do," Bollwerk said. "They do everything to get things set up and then they turn around and donate the toys to us. We'd actually be short on toys if not for what the guys do."

Eftink said this years' participating venues for the Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash are the Rude Dog Pub; The Pour House, 113 Broadway; The Library, 10 S. Spanish St.; Lodos, 33 N. Main St.; HotShots, 15 N. Main St.; Mixing 10, 2 N. Main St.; Bel Air Bar and Grill, 24 S. Spanish St.; and That One Bar, 36 N. Spanish St.

Each venue will have a barbecue buffet and a raffle. The lineup of bands performing at the venues include the Mike Renick Band, Us Instead, Headley Grange, Old School Hype, The Intention, Human Zoo, the Tone Def All-Stars, Isabella and Bruce Zimmerman.

Mike Renick, frontman for the Mike Renick Band, said playing during the toy bash is a way to give something back to the community.

"We've played at the toy bash for seven years," Renick said. "We realize that being able to help kids have a good Christmas is a good cause. It's a way to help out with music."

The 12th annual Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash is scheduled for 6 p.m. at each venue with barbecue served until 8 p.m. Entertainment is scheduled at the venues from 8 p.m. until closing time. The cost of admission is a new toy or a $10 entry fee, and admission can also be gained by wearing a 2013 Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash T-shirt, which can be purchased at smokinbrothers.com/toy bash.aspx. For more information, visit the Happy Slapowitz Toy Bash page at facebook.com, tinyurl.com/p828aeh.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

123 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

113 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

10 S. Spanish St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

33 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

15 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

2 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

24 S. Spanish St, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

36 N. Spanish St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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