What embarked as a gift of a boat trip has turned into a fundraiser serving 20 community groups in Hood River and Wasco counties while also benefitting the International Museum of Carousel Art.
The non-profit Hood River museum, open daily at 3rd and Oak, sponsors a prize drawing Dec. 11 delivering a total of 161 prizes to lucky ticket-holders.
The grand prize in the drawing is a seven-night cruise for two people aboard the Queen of the West. Other top prizes are from hotels, ski areas, golf courses, bed-and-breakfasts, and restaurants. The 161 prizes have a total value of more than $10,000.
Duane Perron, museum director, said American West Steamboat Co. provided the week-long excursion to the museum to use as a fund-raising tool in the method of the museum board's choice. Rather than sell it outright or auction it off, Perron and museum marketing director Bill Werst decided to include community groups.
"We wanted to provide local publicity and support," Perron said. "We love being able to share the wealth with other non-profits, and at the same time enlist them as a sales force."
Tickets are being sold throughout both counties by the following recipient groups:
Hood River Valley High School wrestling team, HRVHS baseball team, HRV OSSOM club (Oregon Student Safety on the Move), HRV equestrian team, Wy'east Middle School, Cascade Locks Middle School, Cascade Locks Spanish Club, Dynamo Soccer, Youth and Family Services, CAST theatre group, Hood River Chamber of Commerce, Snowboard Team, Airtime Wrestling Club, The Dalles High School Bel Canto Choir, The Dalles HS ski team, The Dalles HS swim team, Wahtonka High School senior class parents, Mid-Columbia Health Foundation, and Unity and Recovery Foundation.
Each group takes $1 from the sale of each $2 ticket. The other dollar goes to the museum, a unique facility that is home to hundreds of historic carousel figures and other carousel memorabilia from around the world.
The tickets are also available at Home Town Paint, The Gift House, Waucoma Bookstore, Pets-N-More, Paddock's Appliance and Electronics, Every Thread Counts, El Sombrero, Shortt Supply, Wy'east Middle School, Hood River Supply, Divots Restaurant, Indian Creek Golf Course, International Carousel Museum, and Windermere Real Estate.
The tickets can be redeemed for discounts at about 40 stores and other businesses in both counties. The merchants will take $2 off the price of purchases of $10 or more.
The prizes will be drawn on Dec. 11, though the first 11 tickets will be withheld for a final drawing on Dec. 14 at the museum.
Museum officials hope to sell up to 25,000 tickets, which would raise a total of $50,000 for the museum and non-profit groups in the Mid-Columbia region.
Prizes include lodgings, massages, glass art, dinner cruises, luxury restaurant meals, ski tickets, automotive service, and golfing packages. Restaurants, garages, auto parts stores, gift shops, video stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets also donated prizes.