Don your mask for the Half Moon Bay branch of the American Association of University Women’s upcoming fundraiser, but not the mask you had in mind.

The organization's theater and auction event, which has historically been an annual occurrence, hasn’t been held since April 2019 due to COVID-19. Now it’s back and reimagined.

“We’re kind of tongue-in-cheek, giving a positive spin on what we’ve all been going through these last couple of years and having to wear masks,” said Wendy Lama, co-coordinator of the event. “We encourage people to come wearing their fun masks as well.”

The fundraiser, previously named “The Theater Bash” and now “The Masked Bash,” will be held at 6:30 on March 24 at the Coastal Repertory Theatre, 1167 Main St.

“Pun intended all around,” said Peggy Rozhon, branch president in an email to the Review.

March 24 marks the final dress rehearsal for the upcoming production of “The Cemetery Club” at the Coastal Repertory Theatre. At a pre-curtain party, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., AAUW-HMB will be holding a silent auction, with refreshments and light food, before gathering for a performance of the play at 8 p.m.

At this time the theater requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster, as well as a mask, but also suggests an additional mask. Rozhon suggested drawing inspiration from Mardi Gras, masked balls or the Dread Pirate Roberts from “The Princess Bride.”

At the silent auction, gift cards for local restaurants, hotels, wine tasting, facials, sailing lessons and more will be up for bidding. All proceeds go to AAUW-HMB.

The Masked Bash will serve as a general fundraiser for the organization, which sponsors programs and scholarships for local women and girls.

“We believe in the education and empowerment of young women,” said Lama. “This a great opportunity to get out … and also support the AAUW.”

Lama said that part of what drew her to AAUW is that, along with being an amazing group of women, it includes women of all ages, including some older women whom she sees as pioneers of educated women, and who sought a higher education during a time when it wasn’t the norm for women.

“People might want to come and interact with women who really are the pioneers of their time and want to carry on that trend with this generation,” she said.

Tickets for the event are on sale now for $25, $20 of which is tax deductible. Advance registration is preferred. Checks can be made out to AAUW- HMB, and sent to Chris Ortega, 1 Sea Breeze Drive, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, by March 21, for will call pickup at the door. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Entrance to the event entitles you to wine and beverages, hors d’oeuvres, coffee and sweets, a chance to win a door prize and entry to the final dress rehearsal of “The Cemetery Club.”

AAUW is still seeking donations of gift cards or valued items from local businesses for the silent auction. Auction donors will receive two free tickets to the bash.

For more information, contact event coordinators Nina Nelson at or Wendy Lama at

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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