EDISON PARK — St. Juliana Parish’s Queen of Hearts pot rolled over again and is now at more than $500,000.
Every Thursday for the past 49 weeks, people have headed to Firewater Saloon, 6689 N. Oliphant Ave., hoping to be the one who picks out the winning Queen of Hearts card hidden in the deck for the 50/50 raffle.
Whoever finds the elusive Queen of Hearts will split the pot with St. Juliana Parish, 7201 N. Oketo Ave. But if the card isn’t found during the weekly drawing, the pot rolls over.
Rev. James Wallace took to the stage at Firewater on Thursday night to again randomly draw a raffle ticket in front of an eager audience.
“I’m not going to say the name because this person will have a lot of drinks to buy,” said Wallace, joking as he read off the raffle ticket number.
When a card was pulled from the deck Thursday it was a joker. As a result, the pot grew to $520,000.
Wallace, who credits the raffle’s success to the parish volunteers organizing it, said St. Juliana hasn’t yet identified how the money will be used.
“We didn’t want to get too presumptuous,” Wallace said Friday. “But once the winning card is drawn I’ll meet with the parish, financial council and school board to get a pulse of how much we’re working with and how we’d spend the money.”
This is the second Queen of Hearts raffle the parish has organized. The first one only grew to $28,000 before the winning card was pulled.
More than 30 volunteers are working on the raffle this time around.
“It’s not easy to do and takes a lot of time to get it done right,” Wallace said. “It’s not a guaranteed success, and it takes a lot of people to make one of these run successfully.”
One of those people is Firewater’s owner, who’s been active in the parish since 1958.
“I was an altar boy there, a boy scout and I coached there for like 20 years,” Rick Dorsch said. “It’s a lot of fun, makes me feel good to help and, bottom line, it’s great for the parish.”
Catholic schools like St. Juliana’s often have a tough road when it comes to funding, Dorsch said. So having the community come together with this kind of fundraiser is great because it could mean building improvements or even raises for teachers at the school.
“These Catholic school teachers put their heart and soul into their job so I’m so happy for the parish being able to raise money with Queen of Hearts,” Dorsch said. “Father James is awesome and it’s fun for us because we love to see people coming out for the drawing, enjoying our live music and just kind of partying.”
Raffle tickets are $5. In addition to Firewater, they are being sold at Emerald Isle, 6686 N. Northwest Hwy., Moretti’s Ristorante and Pizzeria, 6727 N Olmsted Ave, St. Juliana Parish Office and both before and after the weekend mass at the church.
“You get all different kinds of people who take part in it. You’ll have your one guy who buys just one ticket, and that’s all he needs,” Dorsch said. “But then another person will spend $300.”
The next drawing of cards will be Thursday at Firewater. With only a few cards left in the current deck, it’s only a matter of time before the winning card is eventually found.
Wallace said the parish is considering hosting a third Queen of Hearts raffle this year because this one has been so successful.
“People obviously buy tickets because they hope to win themselves, but it’s cool to see them also want it to benefit the parish,” Wallace said. “It’s been a great time for St. Juliana and I never anticipated it getting this crazy. Well, crazy in a good way. We’re blessed.”
More information on the Queen of Hearts raffle can be found here.
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