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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Three’s Company-inspired Old Town pub crawl to help others along the way
Joanne Draper is all ready for the inaugural Mrs. Roper’s Romp, taking place on Oct. 22 in NOTL. Money raised will help the family of Ashley Simpson to attend the trial in B.C. of the man accused in her murder. It starts later this month. RICHARD HUTTON

There may be no Regal Beagle on the route, but a trio of Niagara-on-the-Lake pubs will be taking part in the inaugural Mrs. Roper’s Romp in Old Town, in honour of the classic television sitcom “Three’s Company.”

So, who exactly is Mrs. Roper? And just what is the romp all about?

Helen Roper was the endlessly neglected wife of Stanley Roper, both landlords featured in “Three’s Company,” which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1984. They were played by Audrey Lindley and Norman Fell, respectively.

The show centred around Jack Tripper, played by John Ritter, who was living with two women, Chrissy and Janet (played by Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt respectively).

And the romp? Its organizer, Megan Vanderlee, says it’s a pub crawl.

She first became aware of this phenomenon via social media, which inspired her to establish one in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“There was one in San Diego and they’ve been spreading like wildfire across the U.S.,” Vanderlee said.

The pub crawl will take place on Oct. 22 and establishments in Old Town such as the Old Angel Inn, the Irish Harp, Corks and more are all taking part in the pub crawl.

An after party will also be held at the Sandtrap Pub and Grill.

Vanderlee said she was also inspired to add a fundraising element to the event.

Proceeds will go to support the family of Ashley Simpson, a St. Catharines woman who was 32 years old when she went missing in 2016 near Salmon Arm, B.C..

Her remains were found in 2021 and her boyfriend, Derek Lee Matthew Favell, has been charged with second-degree murder with the trial set to begin later this month.

“The family are very good friends of mine,” Vanderlee said, adding she had taken part in several fundraisers for the family in the past.

“They don’t have the resources to go and stay there for three months (for the trial).”

Simpson’s family, meanwhile, is grateful for the support they have received from across Niagara since their daughter first went missing, Ashley’s father, John, said.

Now, with the trial ready to begin on Oct. 31, they weren’t looking to turn to the community for more help.

“We waited until the last minute for that very reason,” Simpson said.

The family has been keeping close tabs on pre-trial hearings and has reached a point where they are anxious for the formal proceeding to begin.

“We heard all of the evidence in the pre-trial and bail hearings. We’d like to get this over and done with so we can move on,” Simpson said.

The first Mrs. Roper’s Romp was held in New Orleans in 2013. Fifty people took part in the event, during which participants dressed as the iconic TV character.

Likewise, participants in the NOTL romp are being encouraged to don red wigs and kaftans, signature features of the character.

Maria Mavridis, owner of Corks and the founder Anchor Niagara, thought the event was a great idea and wanted to be involved as a participating business and help promote it.

Anchor Niagara is an organization that partners with local businesses in the offseason to promote events and fundraisers.

“Megan just bounced the idea off me and I was more than happy to support it,” Mavridis said.

Meanwhile, Joanne Draper from Van Noort Flower Studio plans to take part in the event – she’s one of 40 people who have signed up for the romp so far – and she’s looking forward to it.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I grew up watching ‘Three’s Company,'” she said.

While registration for the event is free, donations will be collected at the crawl’s starting point at the Royal Canadian Legion Brach 124 on King Street.

To register, visit anchorniagara.com/events.

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