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Annual Murder Mystery Dinner with 1980’s Twist

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Guests are sure to have a rad, even tubular time at an 80’s Mystery Dinner: A rad Who-Done-It at a Pop Icon’s Album Launch Party. A fund-raising dinner hosted by the Junior Service League of Brooksville at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, at Rising Sun Bistro and Market. Located at 10 S. Main St., Brooksville.

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This marks the 8th Annual Murder Mystery Dinner for the Junior Service League of Brooksville, described at https://www.jslbrooksville.org/ as “a sisterhood who bridges the gap for our underserved neighbors by executing passionate acts of service and enhancing projects through financial community partners.” A non-profit volunteer organization with committees geared towards specific needs such as women’s services and children’s services along with broader community needs. JSL has served the residents of Hernando County for more than 80 years.

“We are very proud of this event and grateful for the support we receive each year,” said event chairperson Ginger Korbus. “It’s not only a fun night but 100% of the money raised goes to our service projects.” 

Perhaps it’s fitting that the organization that has been in existence for more than 80 years is going back to the 80’s for this special theatrical event.

“Grab your hoop earrings, acid wash jeans, and brightest neon colors!” reads an event invite. “Come solve our totally tubular mystery while fundraising with JSL!”

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At the 80’s Mystery Dinner, guests will enjoy a 3 course meal provided by The Bistro while they try to solve a who-done-it mystery; one set at the album release party for pop icon character Polly Abdool. 

Korbus says that the league was eager to return to the era of day glo, big hair, and totally awesome music and fashion for the purpose of this event.

“We choose a different theme each year and ask committee members from the Junior Service League as well as previous year actors who express interest in acting in the next show.” said Korbus. “There were multiple mentions of an 80’s theme so that got the most votes!” 

Korbus says that a great deal of work and preparation has gone into the planning of the 80’s Mystery Dinner.

“We purchase a ‘kit’ every year from a company that designs them for at-home interactive dinner parties. The kit includes character names and descriptions, the relationship between the actors, (some back story) the synopsis, and the suspects/who done it,” she said. “We end up writing some script, to go with the kit, that prompts the actors and helps the narrative to flow. The past few years that has been a JSL league member but this year one of the returning actors, Chris Korbus, volunteered to put the script together.” 

Raffle tickets will be available to purchase for a chance to win baskets and prizes at the dinner, set to benefit a myriad of JSL projects.

“The proceeds will go towards the many projects Junior Service League is involved in,” said Korbus. “To name some, the Food for Families program partners with the Hernando County School District to identify students who qualify for free/reduced breakfast and lunch but don’t have access to that benefit during holiday breaks such as Christmas break and Spring break. We pack approximately 150-200 bags with breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks for each student during the days they will be on break. Christmas break is usually 9-10 days and Spring Break is often 9-10 as well. We offer support to the Dawn Center which is the local organization providing free services to men, women, and children who are survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence.” 

“We also partner with New Beginnings Youth Shelter providing runaway and respite care for youth in the county. The Children’s Advocacy Center provides counseling free of charge to children who are survivors of trauma and violence,” she continued. “We have partnered with K9 Paws for Patriots to help fund service dogs for veterans diagnosed with PTSD. We sponsor local HYL teams, fund a scholarship for PHCC as well as through the Chamber of Commerce to assist students looking to further their education at the college level.”

Through the years, the JSL has enjoyed particular success with the murder mystery fund-raiser theme. 

“This is our 8th Annual Mystery Dinner style fundraiser and it has evolved over the years. Currently we have “celebrity” actors who are volunteers from around the community. Think business owners, marketing reps from companies committed to making Hernando County a better place, local politicians, professionals from public service organizations such as the Sheriff’s office, Clerk of Court, and other non-profits within the community, etc.,” said Korbus. “This year the actors will have rehearsed at least once a week for approximately 6 weeks by the time opening night rolls around. We have sold out both night shows the past two years and expect another sold out year.” 

The show’s $40 event ticket covers the three course meal and show. Alcohol will be available for purchase at this event, which Rising Sun owner Catherine Reeves says reminds her of a favorite slogan espoused by culinary icon Julia Child.

“People who love to eat are always the best people,” Reeves quoted.

To learn more about or purchase tickets for the 80’s Mystery Dinner, visit eventbrite.com and search for ’80s Mystery Dinner.’ Seating is assigned for this event; email [email protected] to reserve seating with a specific group of guests at dinner.

“I hope audiences will be entertained from the performance,” said Korbus. “Throughout the evening it is also my hope that the audience recognizes that these actors and our organization are 100% volunteers and also professionals in Hernando County who are committed to making our community better.”

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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