During the next week, area residents will have several chances to play cards and win frozen turkeys while raising money for community organizations.
The first of these is the Volin Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders' annual "feather party," which will be held at the Volin Town Hall at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.
During the event, attendees will play games of pitch for the chance to win a season-appropriate prize.
Assistant Chief Dean Gustad said, "There's eight people per table, and whoever wins the game of pitch will get a frozen turkey."
Sixty 10- to 12-pound turkeys have already been procured for the occasion.
Chili and ham sandwiches will also be served throughout the evening, and a full cash bar will be available, as well.
Gustad said this is a yearly event that serves as a way to raise funds to cover general expenses.
"It usually lasts until about midnight to 1 a.m.," he said. "It depends on when everybody leaves, or else all the turkeys are gone."
People who don't know how to play pitch are welcome to attend, as well.
"We do sell a number you get to put on a card to win a turkey," said Treasurer Matt Cwach. "We've got other ways to win turkeys. And we've got a gun raffle for everybody if they want to take a chance and make a donation."
The gun being raffled off is a 7 mm Winchester short mag rifle.
Raffle tickets are available at the rate of one for $1 or six for $5. They can be purchased either at the event or at the RPM Unlimited office, which is located at 30393 447th Ave. in rural Volin.
Gustad said the amount of money raised varies from year to year.
"Between our food and the turkeys and everything, usually we raise anywhere from $800 to $1,500," he said.
Gustad and Cwach both said the event is important to the fire department and the first responders.
"It's the only time that we reach out to the community and ask for their support," Gustad said.
"It helps a little bit every time just to get a little extra to pay for whatever project we have going on," Cwach added.
Cwach encouraged card-players and non-players alike to attend Friday's fund-raiser.
"It's just a good time," he said.
The second cards-and-turkeys fund-raiser will be held Nov. 23-25 when the Gayville American Legion Post 237 hosts its annual "pitch party."
The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. each night at the Gayville Community Center, with a dinner of oyster stew and roast beef sandwiches. A full cash bar will also be available.
Card-players will then play games of pitch for the chance to win eight- to 10-pound frozen turkeys, of which approximately 300-320 have been acquired.
Post Adjutant Gary Heier said the funds raised will help the Legion to "keep things going. If we make enough, we have other things, like we're talking about buying new coats and shirts for our firing squad and color guard. We get rid of it somehow."
Approximately $2,000-$3,000 is raised each year.
"It depends on what we need and what we do," Heier said.
He added that while the event starts at 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, the games of pitch might not begin until later.
"A lot of people come in early for supper, and as they play cards, they buy more soup and sandwiches," he said.
Heier said holding the event on multiple nights will makes the fund-raiser more convenient for area residents.
"It used to be Monday night was our big night," he said. "Now it's kind of our slow night, and Wednesday is our big night. As the years go by, things change."
The number of attendees will dictate when the event draws to a close each night.
"Sometimes on Monday night, by 10 or 11 p.m., it's all done," Heier said. "Tuesday night might be a little bit later. Wednesday night sometimes goes to 1 to 2 a.m."
Multiple tables will be set up for the games.
"There's eight people per table, per card game," Heier said. "On some nights — like Monday or Tuesday night — we might have six, eight, 10 tables. On Wednesday night, we might have up to 13 tables going, plus the people that don't play cards and just buy chances on chance cards."
Heier added that the evenings could give people who don't know how to play pitch a chance to learn.
"A lot of times, if they're not sure (how to play), they'll get in with a group and they'll help them," he said. "Sometimes, it's better to get in with people you know than strangers, because they'll take advantage of you."
Tickets do not need to be purchased for either event.