The Michigan Masquerade, which sponsors and organizers say will be the “best ball of the fall,” is taking place tomorrow evening at William Monroe Trotter House.

The Masquerade, a fancy costume ball, is a charity event planned to raise money for the HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Ypsilanti. The event was planned to take place on World AIDS Day, a day designated in 1988 to bring messages of hope and understanding about the AIDS epidemic to the entire globe.

“We planned this event to raise awareness about the continual impact HIV and AIDS is having on our society, and that includes men, women and people of color and also to raise money for a worthy cause such as HARC,” said event planner Ken Stewart, a School of Public Health student.

Stewart thought up the masquerade idea as an alternative to the United Way for members of the University community to donate to charity. The University”s connection with the United Way has come under criticism because it is an umbrella group that supports the Boy Scouts of America, a group that prevents homosexuals and atheists from being members.

The Masquerade, which starts at 9 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m., will feature a reception with music and refreshments, a silent auction, gambling for charity and dancing.

Stewart said the items for the silent auction include a roundtrip ticket for one to a spring break destination, two tickets to the annual Michigan-Michigan State hockey game, CD bundles, T-shirts, gift certificates and gift baskets.

Tickets to the event are available in advance until tonight at the Michigan Union Ticket Office for $5, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $7.

“Costumes are optional, so anybody with a ticket won”t be turned away,” Stewart said.

Stewart urges attendees to come with “a fistful of dollars and plan to have fun.”

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