Weird... are these get togethers at someones home? I can see if it was a group of friends getting together to go out to do something, but a hosted event asking a cover charge? ick
Yep, always at someone's house - usually the host in question. (More accurately, the host's parent's house.)
I've had college-aged friends do this when "hosting" a kegger, or at our annual beer pong tournament where it really is an entrance fee with cash prizes at the end, or every so often (college-aged again) when someone would throw a "rent party" or such ... but for just every day get togethers that does sound odd and rude.
i just re-read & noticed you said it was always from the same person. That is definitely odd & rude. How well do you know them? Are they usually etiquette challenged?
The host in question (W) is sister of a coworker (A), and we are all part of a loose social group comprised of some of my coworkers, their SO's, friends, siblings, etc. The group gets together often in various combinations for all sorts of celebrations - they're a fun group. I've actually only met W once and she seemed nice enough, but our entire conversation consisted of the party she was "hosting" a few weeks later and how much to charge everyone!
What's especially baffling is the number of people in this loose group who continually accept W's invites without a second thought - these people are mostly in their late 20's/early 30's and (one would think) start to wonder about the one person that charges for parties, and apparently tries to make a profit every time...