AMBOY – OK, right now the kitty stands at a measly $28,000 or so.
Don’t despair – that’s right where it was this time last year, and it took just a weekend full of Depot Day revelers to pump it up to nearly $200,000.
The 38th annual Depot Days festival, which attracts thousands of visitors to this town of 2,500, opens today, bringing back with it one of its major draws: Sunday’s 50-50 raffle.
Last year’s winner walked away with $99,530; in 2016, the winner’s share was nearly $150,000.
Tickets are sold right up to Sunday’s drawing, and the majority of ticket sales are made over the weekend, organizers say.
While you’re waiting to find out if you’re the next Depot Days hundredthousandaire, there are plenty of other things to enjoy at this annual festival, which is a fundraiser for the Depot Museum and a host of other local endeavors.
Kicking things off Thursday, food stands will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. and carnival rides will be $2 each from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Depot Days Little Dancers will perform at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Miss Amboy and Little Miss Amboy pageants.
There will be communitywide garage sales, and craft and food booths will be open Friday through Sunday.
The carnival will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Armbands cost $20 each day.
The adult 5K run/walk will kick off Saturday events at 7:30 a.m. Call 815-857-2164 or go to amboy.net to register.
The kids meet and greet with Captain Marvel, Batman and Elsa will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pankhurst Memorial Library, 3 S. Jefferson Ave. There also will be free face painting and balloon animals from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Depot parking lot.
The parade will kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, the 29th annual Depot Days Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show will run from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. downtown. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m. and awards will be presented at 3 p.m., which is also when the 50-50 raffle winner will be announced.
There will be live music throughout the weekend including Eileen & Guests at 8:35 p.m. Thursday, Rick Lindy & The Wild Ones Band from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday followed by Burn-n-Bush, and Jonathan Parker from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday followed by Mortimer’s Quest.
There will be a first aid and cooling center at Lee County Farm Bureau, 37 S. East Ave. A free shuttle bus will pick up passengers at 11 E. Hawley St. on Sunday.
Also, Lee County Honor Flight Committee members will have a booth open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the car show.
Veterans of World War II, Korea, or Vietnam, and guardians to accompany veterans on the trip, can pick up application forms for next year’s trip, and a handmade patriotic quilt will be raffled, with proceeds going toward next year’s Honor Flight trip.
The winner will be drawn after the Bags for the Brave fundraiser on Sept. 21. Call Jim Travi at 815-857-3789 for tickets or more information.
Amboy Depot Days will run Thursday through Sunday.
Go to depotdayscarshow.com or call Garth Dallam at 815-857-2946 to register for the car show.
Go to depotdays.com or find Depot Days on Facebook for more information or a full schedule.
Where to get 50-50 raffle tickets
Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.
Tickets are sold at the following locations:
The Longbranch Saloon, The Last Alarm, The Depot Tap, The Bears Den, Morts Tap, Shell Expresslane, Jones Berry Lumber Co, Two Sisters on Main, and Amboy City Hall
Country Village Meats, Shady Oaks Golf Course, Bonnell’s General Store, Vaessen Brothers Chevrolet, and The Sublette Saloon
Ashton Auto Repair
The Shamrock Pub