MONTPELIER, Vt. — An Arizona man is heading to a bachelor party this weekend in Vermont — with a bunch of guys he has never met.
William Novak isn't crashing the event but rather joining in the fun after the organizers mistakenly sent him an invite. Thinking it was a joke, Novak responded to the errant email. The next thing he knew, he was readying for a weekend of skiing — something he hasn't done since he was 14 — with strangers.
The unusual series of events started Jan. 7 when Novak got an email from someone named Angelo. Though he didn't know the person, Novak thought the over-the-top invitation sounded like a good time. He jokingly emailed back to say he was in but didn't expect to get a response.
Instead, the partygoers from New Jersey and New York who are in their 30s like Novak insisted he come along.
"When they wrote back and they were like, 'If you're serious, we're serious, get here,' I was blown away. I just started cracking up laughing. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, these guy seem insane,'" said Novak, who plans to fly into Boston on Friday ahead for the bachelor party.
Likewise, Angelo Onello's brother, who sent the email, appreciated his humor.
"It started as a joke and ended up being probably a good mistake," said Devin Onello, who said he and Novak have hit it off ever since.
Novak, a father of a 10-month-old who with his wife has spent much of their savings on renovating their old house, had a hard time justifying spending $750 on airfare, ski rentals and lift passes. So, he started a GoFundMe page with the heading, "Help me go the bachelor party of a stranger." By the time he and his family had eaten dinner that day, his trip was funded. He now has raised more than $3,500 toward the trip.
The party organizers warned the weekend will be tough on his liver but that didn't put off Novak. Since he is not much of a drinker, Novak said was OK because he could be the designated driver.
The buzz around the party has prompted offers from all sorts of places. One company wants to provide Hawaiian shirts for the occasion, a Vermont bar will chip in some locally made beer, and a tattoo artist will give them matching tattoos, which Novak says he declined.
When Novak learned that Angelo and his fiance are expecting a baby, a woman in Mesa, Arizona, where Novak works, made a baby blanket. His neighborhood in Phoenix is also sending a gift bag of locally made items.
After arriving in Boston, Novak plans on renting a car and driving to a popular ski resort in northern Vermont. He's changed his route so he can pick up the beer in Brattleboro on the way.
"I'm just the sort of person who tries to be open to things," Novak said.