By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Newlyweds Frank and Katie Sirolli have been playing the popular game of baggo ever since they began dating a few years ago.
Katie drew some interesting parallels between marriage and baggo while she was tossing some bean bags with Frank on Monday.
“Having patience with your partner,” she gently reminded her husband as he smiled in agreement and said “correct.”
And teamwork, too, they both agreed.
Frank and Katie Sirolli were among the players on 100 baggo teams participating in an annual fundraising tournament in Sea Isle City hosted by the Ocean Drive bar and sister property O’Donnell’s Pour House pub and restaurant.
Bags were flying to raise an estimated $10,000 for local charities that include Mike’s Seafood Polar Bear Run-Walk for Autism, the Cape May County Volunteers in Medicine, Bishop McHugh Regional School, the Police Unity Tour and the Sea Isle Ambulance Corps, the Sea Isle Volunteer Fire Department and the Sea Isle Beach Patrol.
In addition, the fundraiser has benefited five individual charity funds that help people who are struggling with medical challenges such as partial blindness, blood disorders and different types of cancer. The people needing medical help are relatively young and have ties to the staff of the Ocean Drive and the Pour House or with Sea Isle City.
“We want to help others,” Kathy Larkin, manager of the Ocean Drive and Pour House, said of the fundraising campaign.
Larkin noted that the fundraiser is embraced by the entire town. She thanked the city for allowing the Ocean Drive and Pour House to close the block of 40th Street between Landis and Pleasure avenues to set up the baggo game boards.
“The people in the neighborhood are also great about letting us do it,” she said.
The annual fundraiser was established in 2005. In addition to baggo, it includes music, food, drinks and raffles.
Larkin said that the event is a fun way for employees at the Ocean Drive and Pour House to raise money for charitable causes while getting to know each other better.
Katie Sirolli, a science teacher in Springfield, Pa., is working as a bartender and food server this summer at the Ocean Drive and Pour House.
Katie and Frank were married on June 26 in Horsham, Pa. He works at a company that sells and rents construction equipment.
They met in Sea Isle and began dating.
“We have been playing baggo since we began dating,” Katie said.
Two years ago, they played in the baggo tournament and placed a respectable fifth or sixth.
Other husband-and-wife teams were tossing the bean bags for charity Monday.
Meghan Donahue and her husband, Aaron Carmichael, were down at the shore for a weeklong vacation from their home in Philadelphia.
“It’s my first year,” Donahue said of the baggo tournament. “It’s nice to get out and meet new people.”
Denise Sobczak and her husband, Leon, drove from their home in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, to play in the tournament. Denise explained that she is a regular in the tournament.
“I’ve been here, rain or shine, for this event,” she said. “I’ve even been down in pouring rain.”
The Ocean Drive and O’Donnell’s Pour House organize a series of fundraising events throughout the year to benefit local charities.
“Broads at the Beach,” held at O’Donnell’s Pour House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9, is the next fundraiser coming up. Donations are $25. For more information, visit (16) O’Donnell’s Pour House | Facebook.