A massive lineup is weaving through downtown Hagersville as hundreds descend on the community to play ‘Catch the Ace’ at the local legion.
Catch the Ace is a progressive raffle where players purchase tickets to guess which envelope contains the ace of spades.
The raffle, organized by the Hagersville and District Lions Club, has been running for 43 weeks now, with a draw happening each Thursday.
This week will be draw 44.
The Hagersville Lions Club said in a post to social media the jackpot has grown to an estimated $1.2 million.
Organizers said people have been lining up since 5:30 a.m. on Thursday to purchase tickets in person.
Long lines can be seen in the community of Hagersville for the ‘Catch the Ace’ raffle. (Karis Mapp/CTV Kitchener)
“We are raising funds like never expected, and it’s just amazing,” Dan Matten, the event chair with the Hagersville Lions Club said.
People have travelled from across the province, and now — they’re even coming here from other provinces to purchase a ticket.
“I’ve heard people are flying in from Manitoba. I’ve heard people are flying in from Alberta,” Tanya Ribbink, the vice-chair of the Hagersville Lions Club Catch the Ace committee said.
The Lions club in Hagersville first ran the event in 2019, where the ace was drawn after about 20 weeks. This will be the most historic one yet.
From the draw, 50 per cent of their purchase will be donated, 20 per cent goes into a jackpot for that week, and 30 per cent goes into the catch the ace jackpot.
At the start of the event, a deck of 52 cards are put into individual envelopes. Each time someone purchases a ticket, they choose an envelope that they would open if they win the weekly draw. The winner of the weekly ticket draw then opens the envelope they chose, and if they pull the ace of spades, they win the total jackpot.
The current draw has been going on for 43 weeks, meaning the ace of spades has yet to be drawn.
“Last week we sold around 100,000 tickets. We have about 140,000 tickets today,” Ribbink said.
With a population of just over 3,000, Hagersville has been exploding with visitors each week. Organizers have now started to bring in outhouses, dumpsters and police to direct traffic.
Pete McDaniel travelled from Hamilton on Thursday in hopes of being the big winner.
“I want to be rich, like everybody else. I want a million dollars,” McDaniel said. “But they might run out of tickets. I don’t know.”
If the ace is not drawn on Thursday night, the draw will continue on and the jackpot will grow.
“I think we all need a bit of a break,” Ribbink said.
Last weeks consolation winner took home over $130,000.
“It’s just grown to a size where we can not stop anymore, and we just have to ride it out. And we do it joyfully, because it’s for our good causes,” Matten said.
Ticket sales are open on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. with the draw happening at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $10 each or three for $20 and are sold in person at the Hagersville Legion.
Proceeds support the Hagersville Food Bank as well as various club causes.
To watch the draw live click here.