Press Release

The Strong National Museum of Play’s Play Ball Gala Returns

Published October 18, 2023

ROCHESTER, NY—Rochester’s most playful fundraising gala returns! Join Honorary Chairs Faheem and Laurie Masood for an evening of fun and festivities highlighting the power of play in Rochester and beyond at The Strong’s Play Ball on Friday, October 20, from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Be a piece of the puzzle as the museum looks to the future; funds raised from Play Ball support the museum’s outreach programs and play-based educational mission.

“At ESL Federal Credit Union, we understand the importance of investing in the future, and our partnership with The Strong is a testament to that belief. The Strong creates experiences—like those in ESL Digital Worlds—that harness the power of play to nurture and inspire the future generation of thinkers, dreamers, and innovators. Within the walls of this now-expanded museum—a project that ESL is proud to be part of—the opportunities for inspiration are limitless,” says Faheem Masood, honorary co-chair, and CEO of ESL.

This year, The Strong welcomes magician Paige Thompson to the Main Event. Thompson has appeared on Masters of Illusion, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, and is currently a resident company member of Chicago Magic Lounge. Rochester favorites Joe Lomonaco and Nikki Rudd will emcee the evening and host a live auction that includes a Walt Disney World trip for four, weekend getaway at the Del Monte Lodge complete with spa services, a chef’s table at Good Luck, and more. The silent auction is open to the public and runs through the event—featuring playful packages such as one-of-a-kind autographed sports memorabilia, unique experiences, toys and games, and more. Throughout the evening, guests can savor irresistible cuisine courtesy of Wegmans and sip creative cocktails from Good Luck’s team of mixologists. Guests will also enjoy music from DJ Naps of BreakThrough Entertainment.

Leading Play Ball sponsors include ESL Federal Credit Union, Mary C. Valentine, Wegmans, Broadstone Net Lease Inc., LeChase Construction Services LLC, Good Luck, and Konar Properties.

Please note: The museum will be closed to the public on Friday, October 20, to prepare for the event.

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play.