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Lions Club bonanza drums up fun

March 07, 2006|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

For some people, the term "bonanza" calls to mind a 1960s TV series. But many Hagerstown area residents say "bonanza" means something quite different to them - namely, a night out for some fun and a chance to win cash.

The Beaver Creek Lions Club provided such a night Saturday, March 4, at Hagerstown Elks Lodge 378 on Robinwood Drive. Event tickets cost $35 for two people, covering dinner, drinks and a chance to win a grand prize of $1,000.

Anne Martin, secretary of Beaver Creek Lions Club, said Saturday's event was the club's 15th bonanza. Martin, 52, of Hagerstown, explained the concept of the fundraiser.

It's a reverse raffle that lasts throughout the night with the last ticket remaining determining the winner.

"Hopefully your number is not picked, because when it is, you're out of the running for the grand prize," Martin said.

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Out of the running for a while, maybe, but Lions Club members went through the crowd of about 200 people selling chances for one person to get back in the game as one of the final five with a ticket in the drum.

Fred Burkett, 28, of Greencastle, Pa., was one whose number was eliminated fairly early in the evening. Though he did buy another chance at the big prize, Burkett said winning didn't really matter to him.

"I've been coming to this for four years," Burkett said. "It's just a pleasant atmosphere. I get along with everybody. The food is good. Good music. Good cause. It doesn't matter if I win anything or not."

Martin said thanks to donations from around 150 area businesses, the club was able to give a small item to participants as their numbers were drawn.

"Not all bonanzas work like that," Martin said. "That's what makes us unique. Everybody gets something."

For additional fun and fundraising, the Lions Club offered a "balloon pop." For $20, attendees bought balloons guaranteed to contain gift certificates of a greater value from area merchants.

Carol Smith, 58, of Hagerstown, who attended the bonanza with her husband, Kurt Smith, 47, said she was having a nice night out for dinner and meeting old friends. Smith said although the balloon she purchased turned out to have a $150 value, she was looking to trade with someone.

"I won a trip to a ski resort and I don't ski," she said.

Short of a trade, the Smiths said they were sure they could make good use of the certificate, and the bonanza was a "good deal."

John Rand of Fairplay took home the night's $1,000 prize. When the drawing was down to the final five, Rand negotiated to split the prize with the other four finalists, but one finalist refused to do so. When Rand and that same finalist were the only two left, Rand made a bold - and ultimately triumphant - decision to go for broke.

Vicki Martin, owner of Pottery by Me, and More, donated prizes and attended the bonanza. Martin, 44, of Fairplay, knows some club members because they meet bimonthly at Richardson's Restaurant, which she said her family runs.

Anne Martin said she expected the Beaver Creek Lions Club to bring in about $6,000 from the bonanza, which will be passed back into the community through college scholarships, subsidies for vision care, support for Children in Need Inc. and other projects.

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