Got the ‘golden’ ticket? Raffle instead of ‘Ritz’ a sign of fundraising times

CHIMACUM — The odds of winning $10,000 in Washington state’s “Match 4” lottery game, according to the state Web site: 1 in 10,626. The odds of winning $10,000 in the East Jefferson Rotary’s raffle: 1 in 500.

That’s how many tickets Rotarians are selling for the Pot of Gold raffle during the next two months, starting Monday. Whether all will be purchased, and how fast, is a question that club president Mike Burkart can’t answer.

“You don’t know,” Burkart said. “But a lot of people have told me they are dying to buy one. People are calling and asking to reserve a ticket. They are worried about them being sold out.”

According to the state lottery Web site, Match 4 is the game that offers the best chance to win $10,000. The price is low — $2 a chance — compared with $100 for a shot at winning the Rotary’s raffle.

But unlike Match 4, someone who buys one of the 500 Pot of Gold tickets will win $10,000.

The money raised by the raffle goes to community projects.

In the past, East Jefferson Rotary helped build the pavilion at H.J.Carroll Park, purchased LifePak Heart monitoring systems for local paramedics, bought a new reader board for the Quilcene School and contributed to the Quilcene Community Center remodeling.

East Jefferson Rotary also has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to Chimacum and Quilcene students from an endowed fund, aided hurricane relief efforts on the Gulf Coast and participated in service projects in Guatemala and Thailand.

Most of the money came from an annual dinner dance and auction.

“We’re not having ‘Putting on the Ritz,'” Burkart said. “The raffle is our major fundraiser.”

The club held the dinner for the past 26 years, according to Henry Rogers, long-time member.

For the first seven years, the club chartered a boat, Spirit of Seattle, for the dinner, which was preceded by a cocktail party at the Old Alcohol Plant, now the Inn at Port Hadlock.

When the boat pulled up at the dock, the guests walked out to it on a long red carpet. People dressed up, the women in long dresses and the men in tuxes.

“It was the social event of the year,” Rogers said.

After dinner, club members had a captive audience for the silent and live auctions.

They had a target amount of money to raise, Rogers said, and told the guests that the boat would stay out until they reached it.

“We always made it,” Rogers said.

The event moved to Port Ludlow Bay Club when it was built, Rogers said, with the goal increasing from $20,000 in the early years to more than $60,000.

Change in economy

But with the changing economy, the club members decided to try something new, just as other Rotary clubs have done.

The Port Townsend Noon Rotary changed the format of its annual fundraiser from a sit-down dinner to a dance this year, and the Sunrise Rotary announced this was the last year the club would put on the Fourth of July fireworks show.

The East Jefferson Rotary Club has raffled off two Harley-Davidson motorcycles at $20 a ticket, but the “Pot of Gold” raffle is the first with a large cash prize, Burkart said.

The winning ticket will be drawn Oct. 10 at the club’s Harvest Gold Ball at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge.

Tickets are available from club members, at Hadlock Building Supply and the Port Hadlock QFC. QFC also will provide a second prize of $1,500 in groceries or $1,000 in cash. The third prize is $500 in cash.

Tickets could be gone in as little as two weeks, club members said.

For more information and an order form, see www.eastjeffersonrotary.com.

________

Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter-columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at jjackson@olypen.com.

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