McHenry VFW announces endgame plan for Queen of Hearts raffle
One way or another, there will be a Queen of Hearts raffle winner by Sept. 18.
If the elusive top prize isn't awarded next Tuesday, the popular raffle organized by McHenry VFW Post 4600 will have a final "drawdown" night the following Tuesday, officials announced Friday morning on the VFW Facebook page.
At that drawdown, organizers will pull raffle tickets and reveal cards until the queen of hearts is finally revealed.
The jackpot for next week's drawing will be $6,077,599. The winner will receive 60 percent of the jackpot.
Post 4600 Cmdr. Dwane Lungren said representatives from the VFW met with City of McHenry officials this week. Lungren said they decided to implement the drawdown plan because of traffic concerns from police and the stress on raffle volunteers. The organizers had previously said they would only do a drawdown if the jackpot reaches $10 million or if safety becomes a concern at the drawings.
Lungren said the volunteers, who have worked tirelessly for months selling raffle tickets and running the game, are pleased with the decision.
"They are pumped for the final push knowing a break is coming up," Lungren said.
VFW officials previously announced that whenever this queen of hearts raffle ended they would hold off on beginning the new raffle until January 2019.
Each Tuesday for several months, crowds of hopefuls have gathered inside the VFW Post on Route 120 east of the Fox River to watch the weekly drawings. The jackpot has grown because the game that began in November 2016 has continued without the queen of hearts surfacing.
The VFW Post 4600 also announced new overflow parking will be available for the Sept. 11 drawing and potentially for the following week as well. Parking will be available on the south side of the 3000 block of Route 120, directly across from the VFW. Additional parking will be available off Adams Drive and Barney Court, east of the VFW. All of the new parking areas will be clearly marked, according to a news release.
Also, the McHenry Police Department will designate an area for drivers to cross Route 120 before and after the drawings.
The McHenry City Council raised the maximum payout to $6 million, so the highest the jackpot can go is $10 million.
The queen of clubs was drawn at this week's drawing, earning the ticketholder $277,622, or 5 percent of the $5.55 million total. The other queen cards and the two jokers also were worth 5 percent of the jackpot and have already been paid out -- the queen of hearts is the lone money card remaining on the board.
Just eight cards from the 54-card deck remain hidden.
Raffle tickets are available for sale at the VFW, which is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Six tickets cost $5.