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Tickets nearly sold out for dinner, comedy show benefiting New Kensington's Knead Cafe

Tickets for a dinner and comedy show in downtown New Kensington are nearly sold out ­— and that’s no joke.

The Nov. 12 event, with musical comedian Mark Eddie headlining, will benefit Knead Community Cafe and will be held in its banquet room.

Only about 25 of 250 tickets were left as of Friday, show organizer Robert Heinle said. He’s been selling them at the cafe between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. That’s the only way to get one.

“It’s such a great cause. People are not hesitating to buy tickets to this,” he said. “The Knead Cafe has a great reputation. People are very anxious to go. It’s going to be an exciting night for sure.”

Knead, a nonprofit at 1011 Barnes St., marked its fourth anniversary in February.

The cafe follows a pay-what-you-can/pay-it-forward model, where patrons pay a suggested donation for food, more if they can or less if they can’t, or volunteer for up to an hour in exchange for anything off the menu, said Mary Bode, who founded the cafe with her husband, Kevin.

Mary Bode said they’re excited about the comedy show.

“It’s always wonderful when a member of the public reaches out to us and that we could partner with them,” she said. “It amazes us how the community responds to the cafe. People just approach us with different ideas that they can help us with. We’re very blessed to have opportunities like this presented to us.”

About 30% of Knead’s operating budget comes through fundraising events, she said. Like other restaurants and businesses, it is facing higher costs and supply issues.

“This is a great opportunity for us so that we can make sure we can fulfill the mission of the cafe to feed all regardless of their means,” Mary Bode said.

Tickets for the show cost $35. That includes a buffet dinner beginning when doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m., with David Michael, a comedian from Pittsburgh, as the opening act.

When the show is over around 10 p.m., Heinle said, they’ll be directing people to Voodoo Brewery and Las Hachas, an ax throwing business that is planning its grand opening for Nov. 6.

“It’s going to be a great night for New Kensington,” said Heinle, 55, an insurance agent from Lower Burrell. “Who would have guessed that you could go out to a nice dinner and a show in New Kensington on a Friday night? New Kensington is back.”

Heinle said he organized comedy shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s as fundraisers for the Elks in Lower Burrell.

“After that place closed, I didn’t have a place to do those shows,” he said.

Heinle said he knows Kevin Bode, who showed him their renovated banquet room. He knew it would be a great place for a show.

“I knew I could sell enough tickets to make the cafe some money. It was really a no-brainer for me,” he said. “Selling the tickets was easy. The town is hungry for it.”

Heinle said he plans for the show to be an annual event, held on the second weekend in November.

“Knead Cafe is one of the original businesses that helped to restart that downtown corridor. Helping to support them certainly was a good objective. What better way to bring the community together than for a comedy show?” he said. “For Kevin and Mary Bode, it’s not just about feeding the hungry. Their objective is to bring the community together. When you break bread with someone, it brings you closer. It brings the community together. It’s bringing people together.”

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