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How it all started How it all started

July 09, 2004

Ten Ugly Men Festival Celebrates 15 Years Since Its Creation By Nazareth Alumni, July 24

The Ten Ugly Men Festival is marking its 15-year milestone as one of the "must-do" events of the summer in Rochester! Started by a group of Nazareth College graduates in 1989, it has now grown into one of the largest one-day charity events in Upstate N.Y. This year's festival is set for July 24 at Genesee Valley Park from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 at the door, $25 in advance at select locations including the Nazareth College Alumni Office (visit www.tenuglymen.com for details), kids 17 & under are $10, kids ten and under are free. Admission price includes all the food, refreshments and music you can handle. Everything is donated to the Ten Ugly Men, and the group then donates all the proceeds to local charities each year. The beneficiaries this year are the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and The St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center. There is also a 5K race and several tournaments including bocce, volleyball, kickball, and dodgeball (must pre-register for sports, visit the website). Free parking is available at the University of Rochester. There is also a shuttle bus running from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with pick-up locations at Hotshots Volleyball on University Avenue and at the corner of Park Avenue and Berkeley Street.

Last year's Ten Ugly Men event was the biggest ever with more than 7,000 festivalgoers helping to raise $150,000 for charity. They are expecting an even bigger crowd this year. "The event has grown because of our commitment to make it a success," says Michael Hartman, Nazareth alumnus and one of the original "ugly men." "It is amazing to see how the even has grown from a small picnic of 100 people where we donated $400, to this year's event where we expect 8-thousand people to help us raise $200,000 for the local charities."

Besides all the great food and drink, there is a line-up a great bands that donate their time to play at the Ten Ugly Men Festival. This year's schedule includes: Lit, Sometimes Three, Streamline (2004 94.1FM "Ugly Idol" winner), Puddle, Uncle Plum, Another Perfect World, and Tickle the Taint.

The Ten Ugly Men started back in 1989 when Nazareth College alumni Michael Hartman and P.J. Pape were at a classmate's John Casey's neighborhood block party. The two decided to throw a similar community-based party and have all the proceeds goes to a local charity. They looked for ten guys to throw a great party and get Ugly (have fun), and that is when the name was born. The first Ten Ugly Men event was in Mendon Ponds Park in 1990 with a crowd of 200 people and two bands. The group has never paid for a band since their first event and they attract some of the greatest bands in the Upstate N.Y. region.

There is much more to the Ten Ugly Men event than the music, food and sports. The group prides itself on raising more than $600,000 for the Rochester community. This year's two beneficiaries, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center, hold special ties to the Ten Ugly Men. Funds raised fro the party will benefit the Kimberly Fitzsimmons fund for Neuro-Oncology (brain tumor) research at the Wilmot Cancer Center. Kim Fitzsimmons, the wife of "Ugly Man" John Fitzsimmons was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2000, two hours after giving birth to daughter Nikole. Despite an aggressive fight and an experimental clinical trial at Duke University, she lost her battle in 2003 at age 35.

The Sisters of St. Joseph opened the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center in 1993. It provides primary health care, mental health counseling, adult education services and social service advocacy for the un- and under-insured and Monroe County. The Center receives no government money or third party payments, and is supported by individual donations and the efforts of groups like the Ten Ugly Men.