Pearls before swine: Swine Ball coming to Pearl City
by Margaret Hurlbert
March 18, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Imagine a grand evening out, with fancy outfits, fine dining, and formal dancing turned on its head, with people coming out in their silliest suits and most dreadful dresses to have fun while raising funds. This in a nutshell sums up the Muscatine chapter of the American Cancer Society’s upcoming Swine Ball. A wacky event not seen in Muscatine since the 1990’s, the Swine Ball promises the perfect end to this year’s April Fools Day.

After hearing about the successful Swine Balls of almost 30 years ago, organizer Ed Chamberlin and others thought bringing them back would provide people with a chance to come together and support the American Cancer Society in a zany way. He recalls: “The American Cancer Society had a few Swine Balls in 1995-1997. They were a big hit, and people went all out finding crazy and tacky outfits. We decided to revive it again this year for a unique event that the community could enjoy.”

In the spirit of good fun, the Swine Ball will name a king and queen. A DJ will provide music for people to dance the night away to. When guests get hungry, they can sample items from a pork themed dinner buffet as well as a cash bar. A silent auction will give guests the chance to go home with something quite a bit nicer than their outfits. Crowd participation games will ensure everyone has a good laugh at the Swine Ball.

The Swine Ball will take place at the Overlook Ballroom in the old Hotel Muscatine at 101 West Mississippi Drive in Muscatine April 1st from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets will cost $30 when purchased in advance either by texting 563-260-1135 or by emailing [email protected]. Attendees may also get tickets at the door for $35, though organizers encourage buying in advance, as they will only sell 250 tickets total.

All of the money raised will go to help people with cancer. This includes donations to the American Cancer Society, which supports research for treatment and provides rides and other supports for people with cancer as well as donations to the Hope Lounge in Iowa City, which provides free lodging for patients with cancer receiving treatment and their families.

Though Chamberlin never experienced the original Swine Balls, he knows from the photos he saw and stories he heard that no one would want to miss this outrageous event. He hopes many people will bust out their bedraggled blazers and sleazy slacks for a night supporting a worthy cause dear to many. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it affects us all,” he reflected. “We have all lost loved ones and close friends to this disease.”

While the Swine Ball represents the biggest American Cancer Society event in Muscatine before Relay for Life, volunteers in Muscatine have found other ways to honor people fighting cancer too. On March 23, they held a Heroes Celebration at the American Legion, providing a free dinner for survivors and caregivers, and selling luminaria to display at the dinner and the Swine Ball as well.

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