Raffle winners are a very special group of people. They volunteer to make an extra donation to the host of the event, the German American Club, in exchange for a chance to receive one of the prizes available. Whenever I'm taking photos of the raffle winners, I capture the biggest smiles.
In order to keep our guests entertained during the 2018 Oktoberfest event, we decided to make the raffle drawing short and sweet. In other words, fewer prizes - higher in value and content. Kelley and Brenda took care of the raffle baskets. They were generous - and looked nice at the same time.
Two more thank yous are in order. The first one goes to Elizabeth and Alma for tirelessly selling the tickets at the appointed table in the Fest hall - and all over the fest grounds. Last but not least, thank you to Jay - for donating some very valuable and unique prizes.
Raffle Throughout the History of Humankind
The Ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used raffle-like games and lotteries to draw winners for community prizes, and it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament that Moses awarded the land to the west of Jordan through using a lottery.
Over time, these simple games of chance evolved to provide huge levels of fundraising, and in 1000BCE, the Hun dynasty in China developed Keno, and the money from its draws funded immense civil and defence projects, including the Great Wall of China. Keno is still popular today and played throughout China!
The Middle Ages & Renaissance
When the Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck died in 1446, his widow decided to raffle off her late husband’s works, selling raffle tickets and thus holding the first recognisable raffle in history. After 1446, raffles became incredibly popular as they could provide the funding for almost any cause.
The late 1460s saw Belgium fund a wide range of civic projects, public facilities and churches, which served the needs of the people. Florence was the site of Italy’s first lottery in the 1500s and Queen Elizabeth I held a raffle where prizes included cash, china and a grand tapestry, with thousands of people buying tickets for a chance to win something.
From this point, lotteries and raffles have been a common sight in historical records throughout Europe, and the Netherlands set up a lottery in 1727 and it still goes on today, making it the longest running lottery in history.
The New World
It wasn’t long before raffles and lotteries were brought to North America, and the first raffle in the USA was held in Virginia in 1612. All the proceeds went back into building the community, much like raffle funds do today.
Charities, community groups, schools, churches and clubs all hold raffle events on a regular basis in order to reliably and easily raise funds for projects that will benefit the whole community.