AMBOY – Last year, it was a broken water main, spotty cell service and a lightning storm. The year before, it was the dreaded COVID bug. This year, the weather gods were back at it, trying to mess with Sunday’s enormously popular Amboy Depot Days car show and raffle.
Once again, they did not prevail, though, and Jim Mezo Jr., a hometown boy, became a thousandaire 99 times over.
The 35-year-old Amboy man won the coveted Amboy Depot Days 50/50 raffle, walking away with a check for $99,460.
Five other folks – Matt Winters, Carry Ginns, Ryan Harrington, Kevin Jordan and David Jaminson, according to the Depot Days 50/50 Raffle Facebook page –won $2,000 each, money that comes from the organizers’ share.
The rest of the money is spread out among local nonprofits, including the Amboy Depot Museum, local food pantries, the town’s Teen Turf center, the schools and local Girl Scouts, among others.
Last year’s pot, won by Tim Hord of Dixon, was a little fatter, $105,580. (The first drawing was held in 2001, when organizers raised a total of $8,400.)
The year before, COVID knocked out the four-day festival, which includes a carnival, craft show, beer garden, live music, and tons of other all-around Midwestern food and fun, which typically attracts about 40,000 people to this Lee County village of about 2,500.
Source: The Daily Chronicle