Big Splash, big plans for Maritime Museum

PERKINS TWP. Big Splash Raffle is a big annual party for the thousands of people who drank beer and
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010



Big Splash Raffle is a big annual party for the thousands of people who drank beer and waited to see if they had won a prize, but behind the fun is a serious purpose.

Dozens of volunteers pitched in to help the event raise money for the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, which is seeking to expand its exhibit space.

The final drawing at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Erie County Fairgrounds was the biggest, to see who had won a $50,000 cash prize. The winner was Jim Walter, 44, of Sandusky, head mechanic at Construction Equipment & Supply, who said he bought his $100 ticket at work.

Walter said he did not expect to win, as he's "never in my whole life" won a large prize. And he didn't know Saturday afternoon what he would do with his winnings.

"I don't have a clue," he said.

A co-worker had a suggestion.

"You're buying lunch Monday, pal," he told Walter.

Saturday's winners also included Tim Traxler, 50, Sandusky who won the drawing for a Ford F-150 pickup.

Traxler, a Sandusky city worker at Oakland Cemetery, said his new truck will replace the "raggedy" Chevy S-10 he drives to work.

He said he'd only bought the ticket a week ago.

"I never win," he said.

After winning four Platinum passes for Cedar Point, Azure White, a mother of five who lives in Sandusky, told the crowd her favorite ride was the Mantis.

White said her next visit for Cedar Point may give her the chance to check out some new rides.

"I haven't been there for 15 years," she said.

The Rev. Dan Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sandusky, took on the chore of drawing the winning numbers.

"He's responsible for making sure all of those ping pong balls are coming up legit. God bless him," said Jim Sharpe, president of the museum's board.

It was the Maritime Museum's fifth annual Big Splash raffle, Sharpe said.

Last year's event raised less than $100,000; the amount this year will raise hasn't been determined yet.

"We've sold 1,700 tickets the last five days. People really stepped up in the last week," said board member Dave Blevins.

Every cent will go to help expand the Maritime Museum, which has many possible exhibits that can't be seen because of lack of space, Sharpe said. Everyone helping the raffle donate their time.

About 3,500 volunteer hours were donated, with about 75 unpaid volunteers helping out, Blevins said.

Anyone who bought a raffle ticket can use the stub to get into the museum for free to see how the raffle proceeds are being used, he said.