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Theater offers raffle to gain support

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WEST SPRINGFIELD The Majestic Theater is sponsoring their eleventh annual Majestic Theater Classic Raffle and individuals are invited to participate for a chance to win a 1964 Corvette for first prize or a 2003 Harley-Davidson-100th anniversary Fat Boy for second prize.

The Majestic recently had a booth at the Big E located right outside the Better Living Center, Danny Eaton, the producing director for the theater, said to Reminder Publications.

"Our annual raffle is still our only major fundraiser, with all of the proceeds going toward supporting the Majestic," Eaton said.

"It is very typical in theater that ticket revenue will account for 60% of expenses. So the other 40% must be raised somewhere." Eaton said.

"Many other theaters have development directors and foundations. What the proceeds of the raffle allow us to do is fulfill that 40% gap without having to seem like we have our hats in our hands. It's been a lot of fun and got the theater a lot of attention that we typically wouldn't get," Eaton said.

The raffle drawing will be at the theater location, 131 Elm St. on Dec. 31 at midnight. Raffle tickets are $10. It is not necessary for the winner to be present at the drawing.

"The idea came way back in 1996 when we were doing renovations for the theater for the first time and knew we would have to open with significantly large expenditures," Eaton said.

Eaton said the theater was opening with the production of "The Buddy Holly Story" and they were looking for a big fundraiser and that is when they came up with the idea of a car raffle. They then connected the raffle to the production and the Corvette made sense to raffle.

"When we acquire them [the Corvettes] they are all restored. There are three or four of us that are constantly on the hunt for them," Eaton said. "We have gone to Ohio, Texas, Georgia and some fall into our laps locally."

A gentlemen who lives in 16 Acres in Springfield received this year's Corvette from his uncle in Florida and sold it to the theater.

Raffle tickets can be ordered by visiting the web site, calling 747-7797 or visiting the theater.

"Inherit the Wind," by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee is the current production at the theater and will run until Oct. 22.