Annual raffle benefits Clay Center, WV Symphony - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Annual raffle benefits Clay Center, WV Symphony

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It takes a village to put on the annual McClaugherty Raffle that supports both the Clay Center and the West Virginia Symphony, but organizers wouldn't have it any other way.

This year marks the 28th annual raffle, and 1,000 tickets are up for grabs at $100 each.

But more important than the wide range of prizes, organizers say, is how it benefits the Kanawha Valley.

The proceeds are split evenly between the Clay Center and the West Virginia Symphony for programs with wide-ranging impacts.

"We have a ton of different kinds of educational programs, from children's workshops to adult workshops and summer camps to all the different things we provide to our schools, like our outreach program," said Clay Center public relations specialist LeAnn Dickens. "There are so many different things we do to educate our kids in the arts and sciences, so the money raised in the raffle goes toward those education programs.

"It's easy to tie the raffle into our music education program, too, since we partner with the Symphony with a lot of performances for kids to come to the Clay Center and experience performances throughout the school year."

Dickens said the raffle is organized primarily through the Friends of Clay Center organization, which is the Clay Center's volunteer organization, and the raffle goes back even further than the Clay Center's creation.

John McClaugherty was one of the founders of the raffle and one of the founding fathers of the Clay Center, and his wife, Sallie, consistently sells the highest number of tickets.

"There's really a wide range of people who sell tickets," Dickens said. "And we really depend on Arnett Foster Toothman because they volunteer so much time to this event every year, and they've done it for 28 years in a row."

Dickens said Arnett Foster Toothman staff helps with much of the administrative processes that go along with the raffle that could be quite time consuming.

"That is a huge help to us, and we're really grateful to them for being so dedicated for all these years," she said. "It's not just that they offer, they're really excited about it, and they believe in the event and what it benefits."

Only ticket holders can attend the March 5 drawing event.

The grand prize is $10,000 cash, and there are also cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and three separate $500 drawings.

Dickens said last year's event featured drawings every few minutes throughout the night, to keep attendees engaged in addition to the food, drinks and mingling in the Clay Center Art Gallery.

Other prizes include season tickets to the Clay Center Performance seasons, jewelry and getaways as well as unique prizes such as one pizza per month for a year from Pies and Pints or one ice cream treat per month for a year from Ellen's Ice Cream. The event is only open to ticket holders.

"Our staff, the Friends of the Clay Center, our board members, the Symphony board, everyone helps to make sure everything comes together," Dickens said.

To purchase tickets, contact the Clay Center at 304-561-3521.