Gala to benefit gymnastics, tennis, pickleball at APlex

News Photos by Darby Hinkley Aryanna Page, 8, practices the splits on aerial silk.

ALPENA — Time to break out the ballgown and tuxedo for an evening on the town. And, in case you needed a reason, it’s for a good cause, too.

An upcoming fundraiser will benefit the APlex gymnastics, tennis and pickleball programs.

POPADAMUS, a classic pop/rock cover band featuring Alpena native Greg Adamus, will perform live music at the event, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 at the APlex.

“He is great, and he’s a wonderful musician,” said Buffy Storey, director of Alpena Gymnastics. “He plays all kinds of music. Big talent, big heart.”

Tickets are $25 per person, available at the APlex. The gala will feature heavy appetizers and a cash bar.

Tennis Pro and Director Aaron Pokorzynski strings a racket recently in his second-floor office overlooking the tennis courts at the APlex.

“It’s actually our very first ever gala event,” Storey said. “We’ve done a variety of fundraisers, but we thought we would just do something fun. After everybody being closed in, people are looking for an excuse to get the party dress on.”

This event is for adults only, but child care will be available downstairs while the parents enjoy the party upstairs, Storey said.

“The kids can come in here for an open gym from 7 to 10, as well,” Storey said of the gymnastics area. “No excuse for not going out and having a great time.”

Alpena Gymnastics is teaming up with the tennis and pickleball programs to present this gala, which is open to the whole community and visitors alike. They hope it will be such a success that it becomes an annual tradition.

“The APlex is a premier facility,” Storey said. “We are blessed in Alpena, to have this facility. We have four indoor tennis courts, this huge gymnastics facility, ballrooms that rival something you would rent in New York City, they’re gorgeous! And, not to mention, ice skating rinks right next door. It’s absolutely incredible, and we should always realize that and support this building.”

Above, Paige Samp, Clare LaCross, and Cecelia Weaver practice on the balance beams at the APlex.

She explained that the APlex is a nonprofit organization.

“We have to always focus on making sure that this building can break even,” Storey said. “That’s always our goal. And so, we fund raise with things like this to make sure that our programs are successful.”

She reiterated that the public is more than welcome to attend.

“Anybody that wants to support youth sports — gymnastics and tennis — all while having a good time,” she said, adding that the tennis and pickleball are for all ages.

“Pickleball is an up-and-coming sport,” Storey said. “We have a large crowd of pickleball players, and a large crowd for tennis, and we do a lot of programs for both the youth and adults alike.”

Maddox Hilla, 8, and Rachel Arsenault, 5, jump on the trampoline as Intro Gymnastics Coach Brooke Smith looks on.

Aaron Pokorzynski is the tennis pro and director of tennis and pickleball at the APlex. He recently talked about upcoming tennis events while stringing a racket in his upstairs office overlooking the tennis courts.

The gala coincides with a tennis tournament that is a memorial event for Jeff Trelfa, who passed away in 2013, said Pokorzynski.

The 5th Annual Jeff Trelfa Memorial Tennis Tournament will be held April 22-24, with singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and a new 60+ doubles division. “I’ve always looked up to him as a mentor and a role model, and he always inspired me,” Pokorzynski said of Trelfa.

“He played tennis, and he golfed, and he went on his motorcycle, pretty much right until the end,” Pokorzynski recalled of the former Alpena High School teacher.

Trelfa was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed because of a brain tumor, he added.

For more information about the memorial tournament, call 989-766-3448 or 989-5907764.

Pokorzynski is in his second year as tennis pro and director. He added that part of the proceeds from the gala will also go toward Friends Together cancer support center in Alpena.

He said a gala event for the tennis program was held last year, but this is the first year they have teamed up with gymnastics to raise funds for both programs.

For more information on the gala or for tickets, call the APlex at 989-354-6164. The APlex is located at 701 Woodward Ave.

You can also Venmo Alpena Gymnastics and state your name and type the word “Gala” to reserve your tickets.

“We’re trying to make it simple for people to buy their tickets,” Storey said.

“It’s a great event,” Pokorzynski said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”


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