COLUMBUS GROVE — Its 1,750 tickets sold in a town with 2,137 people.
In other words, the chances that you know the eventual winner are pretty good.
The St. Anthony Summer Festival on Saturday and Sunday had most of what you find at any parish festival, food fun, bingo and raffle drawings. However, it is one event in particular that that has taken the festival to the next level. The 22nd grand prize drawing sells out every year.
“It is a popular thing,” said festival volunteer Mark Edelbrock. “This is the Big Kahuna.”
The festival simply gave away a new car each year until three years ago. Now, the winner has the option of winning $20,000 to purchase a new car, or they can select a $15,000 cash prize. The added option has made an already popular event even more more popular.
“It has been busy like this all day,” Edelbrock said as they sold tickets in the raffle tent.
Money raised from the event goes to the church general fund, much of it helping fund St. Anthony School. Edelbrock said many don’t reflect on winning too much and just consider it a donation. However, the prospect of a 1-in-1,750 chance seems pretty good to many.
Jared Schroeder, 23, purchased his ticket just like he does every year.
“Its a lot of fun seeing if you can win,” Schroeder said. “I went to St. Anthony too, so it is going to a good cause. I enjoy the whole festival, I can see people I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Schroeder recalled a friend’s close mom winning the prize four years ago, and most everyone you ask can remember someone close winning in the close-knit town.
“There have been several friends of my husband’s have won,” said Tobi Meyer, 53, of Bluffton. Meyer’s husband was a graduate of Columbus Grove High School.
Meyer admitted that she would likely take the cash option. She said it is exciting and a good attraction for the festival.
“We buy a ticket every year,” she said.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.