Seneca County Pheasants Forever is continuing its "buy American" theme of the past few years as volunteers prepare for this year's annual fundraising banquet to take place March 23 at Meadowbrook Park Ballroom, Bascom.
"For the past couple years, we have had numerous 'Made in America' raffles. From hand-crafted benches, fire rings, hand-painted freezer, hand-painted refrigerator, USA-made guns and locally made items," said banquet chairwoman Val Gillig, who has been in charge of the banquet 19 of its 24 years. "There is a lot of USA-made products out there if people just look."
Today is the "early-bird" deadline to buy tickets. The final deadline is March 17. Tickets are $65 per couple or $50 per single, which includes dinner and annual membership dues. Additional family members are $15 each for ages 15-18, and Ringnecks ages 8-14, who prefer a pizza dinner, are $8 each.
Gillig stressed the banquet is open to the public, but tickets must be purchased in advance.
"Your membership is paid when you buy your ticket," she said.
One featured item on the live auction this year is a Hunting Tradition rifle. There also will be a selection of prints and other items for people to bid on.
Raffles planned this year are a mystery gun case containing a mystery gun, gun safe raffle, Party on the Patio, Laser Shot, reverse raffle and lottery raffle.
The organization still is taking donations of items for the live auction, raffles, silent auction or smaller items for table raffles. Gift baskets, jewelry, bird houses and "just about anything else" can be donated, Gillig said.
Gift certificates from local stores and restaurants are welcome.
"It's a great way for them to get their name in front of more than 300 people," she said.
Businesses also can advertise in the banquet program or on table placemats with sizes and prices ranging from $25 for a business card ad to $150 for a full page.
The fundraiser earns about $12,000 each year for use by the local organization.
"We want everybody to know 98 percent (of proceeds) stay right here in Seneca County," Gillig said. "The money raised at our banquet is used in our county to promote habitat, not just for pheasants but for all wildlife."
For anyone who cannot attend the banquet, membership without a dinner ticket is $35.
To order tickets or for more information, call (419) 937-0722 or (419) 937-2264.