Raffle to benefit ice festival

Published 8:43 am Thursday, January 16, 2014

As the Hunter Ice Festival approaches, those promoting and running the annual downtown Niles event are asking for the community’s support.

Lucy McCauslin, of the Niles DDA/Main Street Promotions Committee, said they are currently selling raffle tickets that will benefit both the Hunter Ice Festival and the Rotary Club of Niles-Buchanan’s scholarship fund. Proceeds, she said, would be shared equally.

A drawing will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in the warming center, which is located in the Gallery Building at the corner of Second and Main streets. The person with the winning ticket will receive a $2,000 travel voucher from Signal Travel and Tours.

McCauslin said it is important for the group to generate funds from tickets sales to help pay for future ice festivals.

“The ice festival is an expensive proposition — it takes quite a bit of money to put on each year,” she said. “We’d like to get it to where the ice festival is self supporting. So the raffle is helping us do that.”

Raffle tickets are on sale now at the following Niles businesses: Tippy Toes, 1002 E. Main St.; Niles Styles, 224 E. Main St.; Bella’s Gifts and Memories, 222 E. Main St.; Trailhead Mercantile, 209 E. Main St.; and Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce, 321 E. Main St.; and at the Niles DDA/Main Street office, 333. N. 2nd St., Suite 303.

Tickets will also be available at the warming center during the ice festival.

Lisa Croteau, DDA/Main Street program manager, said the festival generates more than $225,000 annually for businesses in the downtown district. Approximately 15,000 people come to the event.

“It is a huge boon for this community that this festival brings. That wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have it,” she said. “We are several thousand dollars behind last year and everyone can do their part by buying that raffle ticket or going to our website and giving anything they can. Every penny counts. This is our 10th year and we are really proud of making 10 years. We’d like to make it to 11, but who knows.”

Hunter Ice Festival organizers are also asking for volunteers to help run the warming center and ice cream booth. Those interested in volunteers, should contact the Niles DDA/Main Street office by phone at (269) 687-4332 or by email at lisa@uncoverniles.com.

“If people want to give an hour or two we would be happy to have them,” McCauslin said. “It is a lot of fun because you get to see a lot of people you know.”