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At Friday's Lottery Cocktail Party, we were all the winners

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ROH Cocktail Lottery Party emcee Anthony Ejarque relaxes as he explains how comfortable the recliner he's sitting on is as he takes bids on it during a live auction at the ROH on Friday Night. (Lebanon Voice photo)

The question: What fund raiser is more fun than the Rochester Opera House Lottery Cocktail Party?

The answer? None.

For the annual event held Friday that benefits the Opera House, they dropped the floor so it's open seating like the Boston Pops.

But the first thing you notice when you enter is the huge screen upon which a grid of 300 numbered squares is displayed.

Each one of those squares represents a one out of 300 chance that your ticket may win the grand prize of $10,000. By the way a single tickets, which admits two to this gala event, costs only $100.

But while in so many fund-raising contests like this the winner is drawn from a hat and everyone goes home, organizers at ROH start with the first losing ticket and work their way slowly through the 300 entrants until the second-place winner is picked to finally unearth the grand prize winner.

In this way ROH executive producer and director Anthony Ejarque - who did the bulk of the announcing - took the time to recognize every ticket holder and thank them for their contribution for all in the hall to hear.

But there's much more to this event then being a ROH benefactor and getting a chance to win 10,000 bucks.

There were tables and tables of silent auction items, a live auction that featured several rare or coveted prizes like a Florida vacation or an autographed Red Sox baseball and of course there were platters and platters of complimentary delicious munchies that were unending throughout the three-hour affair.

So the evening went something like this: Ejarque would call off about 15 numbers thanking folks for their contribution followed by some free time enjoying the food and beverages from the bar followed by some more numbers and so on and so forth, sprinkled in with various announcements and a couple of theatrical nuggets from the upcoming production of "Annie Warbucks" at the ROH.

Meanwhile, for all those whose numbers hadn't been picked, the hope of the cash prize piece de resistance waxed.

And while folks whose numbers had been called early on took it with a laugh, by the time it had come down to the last 50 or so, those remarks had become, shall we say, somewhat more derisive?

The tension built, the throats grew dry, the palms they turned damp and hearts thumped.

This was higher drama than "12 Angry Jurors" for a good cause.

Oh, who won? Who knows, it wasn't me.

But it was the Rochester Opera House.

If you missed it don't worry. It was such a good show it'll be back next year, I'm sure.

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