How to solve a murder for Valentine’s Day in West Chester

The annual murder mystery dinner hosted by MetroParks of Butler County will be st Voice of America Park in West Chester Twp. on Valentines Day. Actors from The Murder Mystery Company (pictured here) will be there to orchestrate a murder and lead in the hunt for the killers, during a three-course dinner.
The annual murder mystery dinner hosted by MetroParks of Butler County will be st Voice of America Park in West Chester Twp. on Valentines Day. Actors from The Murder Mystery Company (pictured here) will be there to orchestrate a murder and lead in the hunt for the killers, during a three-course dinner.

What better way to spend St. Valentine’s Day than solving a murder at a masquerade ball courtesy of MetroParks of Butler County in West Chester Twp.?

The Billionaires’ Club Annual Masquerade Murder Mystery Ball at the Ronald Reagan Lodge at Voice of America MetroPark is being billed as a “glamorous evening of mystery, intrigue, and murder.”

Each year MetroParks picks a different theme for the murder mystery event and this year attendees are encouraged to don their best formal wear, Venetian masks and thinking caps to help solve a murder staged by the the Murder Mystery Company’s improv cast.

Facility and Event Manager for MetroParks Claudia Whitacre said she has hosted several of these mystery adventures and they are always fun.

“It’s always a murder and they’ll even take the person out in a body bag, it’s cute,” she said.

But it is not a passive exercise, guests should come ready to be active participants in a murder investigation. Whitacre said they can comfortably accommodate about 150 people, so there is room to roam about and gather clues. Prior to dinner the actors will “lay the plot” and pick about 20 attendees who will be the murderer and accomplices.

“They actually will scoop a group of people out that will end up being a part of the play,” Whitacre said. “Then everybody else has to solve it. They give clues and you can go around the room and share clues if you think somebody’s got some juicy evidence you can go over and barter with them.”

A murder is committed and then everyone works individually or collectively to solve whodunit. While the guests aren’t sleuthing, or even while they are, guests will enjoy a three-course dinner catered by City Barbeque. On the menu: Beef brisket, pulled chicken, pesto veggies, Green Bean Classic, Smashed Potatoes w/gravy, dinner rolls, salad, peach cobbler, triple chocolate cake, light appetizers and a full cash bar.

Kelly Barkley, supervisor of Community & Enterprise Initiatives for MetroParks, said events like these really fit in with their mission.

“MetroParks preservation of beautiful green spaces and park facilities across the county exist for public use and enjoyment,” she said. “The park system offers a broad variety of programs and special events, like the Murder Mystery Dinner, to enable people to experience the park system they own.”

The mystery ball will be held on Feb. 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the lodge, 7850 VOA Park Drive.

Pre-registration is required for the event to reserve a spot go to www.YourMetroParks.net. Cost is $45 per person or $41.99 per person for groups of 8 or more. There is some adult humor so it is not intended for a younger audience.

“It’s PG-13, it’s nothing racy but it’s just good wholesome dinner, fun, laughing,” Whitacre said.