Garrettsville – The Queen of Hearts is still playing her card close to the vest, after nearly a year reigning over SkyLanes Bowling & SkyLounge. Every Sunday, 1500-2000 people gather outside at Sky Plaza to witness the drawing taking place on the bowling alley’s rooftop. So far, the Queen of Hearts has eluded discovery, so the jackpot went up to nearly a half million dollars this last Sunday when the seven of clubs was overturned.
With only 11 cards left in play, bowling alley owner and gamekeeper Aaron King says this means the game and its record-breaking jackpot could potentially continue for another 11 weeks.
Last winter, when the Queen of Hearts jackpot reached over $10,000 and the crowds started to increase, village councilman Steve Hadzinsky approached King about selling 50/50 tickets to benefit a different charity each week. Back in mid-April, when the Queen of Hearts jackpot reached over $115,000, it became the biggest jackpot ever in Garrettsville.
Week after week, with thousands of dollars taken in at $5 per ticket or five for $20, the values of the jackpot and its corresponding 50/50 raffle value continue to climb sky-high. Last week, the 50/50 attracted lines from the building to the road, with $15,224 collected. Next week’s 50/50 beneficiary will be the Hattie Larlham Brick Foundation.
King says, “The greatest thing for me about the Queen of Hearts is being able to help so many people with the 50/50 drawing. We have now given over $44,000 to local charities and groups over the last 12 weeks.”
Beneficiaries to date have included:
• Hero’s Rock ($8,844)
• People Tree ($7,612)
• Curtains Up Theatre ($5,975)
• Garrettsville YMCA ($5,852)
• SummerFest ($4,724)
• Garrettsville Lions ($3,869)
• Windham VJFD ($3,742)
• Friends of Melana ($3,489)
• G-Ville Police K-9 ($3,212)
• G-Ville–Hiram Rotary ($2,739)
• NGCC Food Cupboard ($1,888)
• Scott VanHorn Family ($1,170)
King usually decides which charity will receive the next 50/50 donation, but he also confers with Mayor Rick Patrick before making the final choice. “I am now receiving many requests to be the beneficiary, and it’s very hard to pick from so many great causes,” King says. “I hope the the Queen stays away for awhile longer so we can keep helping.”
Tickets for both the Queen of Hearts and the 50/50 raffle are available all week at SkyLane at Sky Plaza. There can only be one name per ticket, written legibly on the back of the ticket along with the number of the card you want overturned. The last ticket sale of the week is taken at 5:30 pm, then the drawing is at 6pm when Juice Newton’s Queen of Hearts plays over the speakers.
A name is drawn from the tickets purchased that week. If your name is drawn, the card number on your ticket is unsealed and overturned. Once a card is selected, it’s removed from play and shown face up on on the board. Each week after the drawing, all tickets for that week’s drawing are destroyed.
If the chosen card is the Queen of Hearts, the winner receives 90 percent of the jackpot. The remaining 10 percent is then used as the starting amount for the next game. If you’re not present, and your name is drawn, you receive half the amount.
Being present at the time of the drawing is key. If the Queen of Hearts is not drawn, and you get a face card or an Ace, you win $100. If you get a 2-10 card, you win $25. If you get the Joker, you win 10 percent of the jackpot. If you’re not present and your ticket is drawn when the Queen of Hearts is turned over, you win half the jackpot… which could reach beyond $500,000 if the Queen plays hard-to-get until the final round in the 52nd week.