ROCKWELL — A popular raffle, lively entertainment and the biggest crowd ever combined to make Saturday's Fun Fest at Nazareth Children's Home successful.
The home was celebrating its 102nd birthday.
The raffle, featuring a 2008 Honda Civic, may have sold more tickets locally than the N.C. Education Lottery. The annual car raffle netted $72,000 for Fun Fest, the organization's major fundraiser.
"In the past we've taken in about $25,000," said Sherry Peterson, an employee at the home and chairman of the Fun Fest Committee.
A $5 ticket gave the holder a chance to win one of five prizes: the Honda Civic, a Sony flat-screen TV, a Sony Playstation, a new handmade quilt courtesy of Pilgrim Reformed Church Women Quilters, and a $200 gift certificate for the Nazareth Outlet store.
Hendrick Honda of Charlotte donated the car. Cathy Hendrick, who serves on the Fun Fest Committee, arranged the donation. Her husband, John, was president of Hendrick Motorsports when he was killed in a plane crash near Martinsville, Va.
"It was an awesome donation," Peterson said.
"It's the best year we've ever had. We mailed out tickets to people and they called back and said, 'Send more tickets,'" Peterson said, adding that people started showing up Saturday morning before the 7 a.m. breakfast at the Children's Home. They wanted to buy more raffle tickets.
Joann Pirello, believed to be a resident of a neighboring county, was the big winner. She will pick up the car at the Charlotte dealership this week.
Along with the raffle, Fun Fest offered a day of activities including a craft show and sale, a car show, games and inflatables for children and music that included country, gospel, beach music and blue grass.
There were also cloggers, dancers, a magician and — just one of many foods offered — pineapple sherbet.
Firefighters from across the county turned out for a special ceremony to honor Salisbury firefighters Victor Isler and Justin Monroe, who died fighting the Salisbury Millwork fire in March.