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CMSA women's party expected to draw 1,200
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

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The third annual CMSA Women's Social Party is expected to be the largest ever, featuring music, entertainment and an auction. Organizers expect 1,200 people to attend, up from 1,000 last year and 900 in 2011.

"I feel this [event] is such a great opportunity for CMSA to give back to our community since many of these members volunteer for these organizations," which will benefit from the social party, said Sam Hamilton, event coordinator.

"I want to thank the past and current CMSA board for [its] support. If it weren't for them this social would never have happened. I'm hoping that because of the success we have had in the past that we can keep this going for our women CMSA members and for our non-profit organizations that have benefited from it."

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, 7-10 p.m., at Joe's Bar, 940 W. Weed St.

Amy Kelly will serve as the MC for the event, which will feature singers Mindy Bartlett and Daphne Willis, plus comedian Judy Fabjance performing "Are you there, Judy. It's me. Cancer," a one-woman comedy show based on Fabjance's personal battle with cancer.

Amy Kelly & The Bill Ande Band also will be performing.

Fabjance and her girlfriend, Kelly Beeman, played in the CMSA women's soccer league, where Beeman was the team captain.

"Judy is a longtime CMSA member battling cancer," Hamilton said. "She currently does not have health insurance to help pay for her medical bills. The money raised from the [event's admission fee] for non-members will be divided evenly between Judy and the [Chicago] Force, which is always in need of funding."

More than 30 Force players also are active CMSA members.

The Force and the Chicago Women's Rugby Football Club will be doing a combined date auction, with money raised from these auctions benefiting both teams.

"We are hoping to raise around $5,000 by the end of the evening," Hamilton said.

Six Force players will be auctioned off for dates.

"I had been doing the date auction since we started the CMSA women's social with other charities," Hamilton said. "Last year we did a last-minute date auction with the Force and it worked out well. This year I'm trying to organize it so it truly benefits the Force."

Six rugby players also will be auctioned off.

"It's great that the 2013 Women's Social Party [is] expanding the charitable groups who will benefit from [the event to include] the Chicago Force football team, the Chicago Women's Rugby Team and Judy Fabjance," Hamilton said. "CMSA has provided an outlet for the largest LGBTQ sports leagues in the Midwest, [and] our annual parties has given something back to organizations, such as a local food pantry or a pet shelter."

The Force will be selling its 2013 calendar at the event and rugby players also will have items for sale.

"Former [CMSA] President Shawn Albritton and former [CMSA] Vice President Marcia Hill started this social in 2011," Hamilton said. "For years, when we used to have our CMSA party combining women and men, only 50 or so women would attend, compared to 700-plus men. The old board decided at that time to have a separate women's social from the men's, and it has proven to be successful."

That said, men are invited, and will be attending the women's social, Hamilton confirmed.

"Of course, all CMSA members are welcome," she said.

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