Metro Weekly

Life in the Fast Lanes

Washington's CHIT Gay Bowling Tournament Celebrates its 30th Anniversary on Halloween Weekend

The Capital Halloween Invitational Tournament (CHIT) is celebrating its 30th Anniversary Oct. 28 through Oct. 30 at the AMF Annandale Lanes in Annandale.

The annual tournament serves as Washington’s major bowling competition and is certified by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and the International Gay Bowling Organization (IGBO).

The tournament was originally conceived to take place over Labor Day when first proposed in 1981, but after another city won approval from IGBO to hold a Labor Day tournament, organizers proposed the tournament for Halloween weekend. In keeping with the season, this year’s theme is a ”Movie Monster Bash.”

Although in previous years, at least 60 percent of participants used to dress up in costumes while bowling, most do not choose to do so anymore, said Bob Fontaine, marketing director for the tournament.

Fontaine said the tournament will hold raffles for prizes in keeping with the tournament’s theme. He also said the organizing committee had planned for nighttime socials throughout the three-day event at the Westin Alexandria, CHIT’s host hotel. The weekend will end with a banquet on Sunday, Oct. 30.

Asked why the tournament remains popular after 30 years, Fontaine said that the tournament has developed a positive reputation over the years and that the payout in prizes is good, which encourages more participants to sign up. He also said that the location, close to the nation’s capital, is a draw for many out-of-town visitors.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at