Niles Education Foundation to host third murder mystery

Published 10:04 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

NILES — The Niles Education Foundation is taking people to the wild west for its latest murder mystery fundraiser.

The “Wanted Dead or Alive” murder mystery occurs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 1 at the Elks Lodge, 1322 Canal St. in Niles. Tickets are $40 per person and include a barbecue dinner. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Niles Education Foundation’s website at Funds from the event will help to raise money for upgrades to the auditorium.

Lisa Muñoz, a Niles High School alum and member of the Niles Education Foundation, said this marks the third murder mystery party the organization has hosted.

“We are encouraging folks to dress up in Western wear: cowboy hats, cowboy boots, because we try to have a theme people can follow along with,” Muñoz said.

The event will be performed by the Murder Mystery Co., a renowned performance group based in Grand Rapids. The company has helped to put on the last two murder mysteries that the Niles Education Foundation hosted. The past events raised more than $5,000 for the school auditorium.

“They have just done such a great job. Everybody raves about these things,” Muñoz said.

In this murder mystery scenario, a variety of characters show up at the local watering hole and instigate trouble. Some of the actors involved include, “maverick gunslingers,” “spurned lovers” and a “sheriff who is not very good at his job.”

Muñoz said the Upton Foundation has offered to contribute grant funds to help pay to replace the Niles High School stage, which initially had been the major effort of the fundraisers. As a result of the grant, Muñoz said the foundation could put fundraiser money toward other aspects of improving the auditorium, including upgrades to sound equipment. 

Muñoz said the murder mystery dinners had helped the fundraising effort to stand out. While the event is for those 21 and older, Muñoz said it has appealed to a people across a spectrum of ages.

“We have got so many different organizations in the area raising money,” Muñoz said. “This was something that no one had done yet.”

Muñoz encouraged people to get in the spirit and find some Western gear.

“I think it gives people a chance to dust off things that have been sitting in their closet,” Muñoz said. “The first one was an ‘80s event, and people had bridesmaid dresses they had kept, school sweaters and varsity sweaters. It’s just an opportunity for people to dress up and have fun.”