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Mal’s Pals continue push for outdoor theater in Hudson

HUDSON — As fundraising efforts continue, volunteers hope to break ground on a long-awaited outdoor amphitheater at Benson Park later this summer.

Two years ago, friends of the late Mallory Gray, a Hudson 13-year-old who died in October 2009 after a long battle with rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia, began working together in hopes of building the theater in her honor.

Known collectively as Mal’s Pals, Mallory’s family, friends and former classmates began brainstorming and holding fundraising events to raise $30,000 for the outdoor concert pavilion, which will overlook the park’s Swan Pond.

The finished project will serve as a gathering spot and a local stage, with double-vaulted ceilings, white columns and a slate roof rising out of a grass field.

Mal’s Pals will also plant a memorial garden to further honor Mallory.

Nearing goal

Holding events such as the wintertime Cool Runnings cardboard sled race and the springtime Ladies Night Out events over the past two years has assisted the cause greatly.

Mal’s Pals president Lori Bowen said Tuesday that the group is about $10,000 away from its fundraising goal.

Bowen said the group hopes to raise the remainder of those funds in the coming weeks. The group is selling tickets for its upcoming 50/50 raffle.

Around half of the 200 raffle tickets have been sold. At $100 apiece, the raffle prize will be $10,000, with the winner to be declared during a Family Day event at Benson Park on June 30.

Ticket holders, as well as members of the community, are encouraged to visit the park that day, for a variety of fun events planned from 2 to 4 p.m.

The popular Hudson band Figure 8 will perform on the site of the future theater, while Mal’s Pals volunteers will host a celebrity bingo, with some familiar local faces spinning the wheel.

“You could buy a ticket by going in with 10 or 20 other people, we don’t care,” Bowen said. “With the odds of winning just one in 200, it’s still better odds than Powerball.”

Amphitheater construction

If the raffle proves a success, volunteers plan to break ground on the Mallory Gray Amphitheater in August.

Construction should take around two weeks, Bowen said, with two local companies currently competing for project bids.

The Hudson Recreation Department has expressed interest in scheduling outdoor concerts at the park, she said, and the pavilion would be available for residents’ outdoor weddings and family functions.

Raffle tickets may be purchased online or by contacting Bowen at 321-8669. For more information visit