The buzz is growing, and so is the pot at the Hannibal American Legion's Queen of Hearts event.  This Friday, February 14, a $50,000 pot is up for grabs.  In fact, the drawing has gotten so popular, the organizers just had to replace their raffle drum with a water trough to hold all the tickets.

The Queen of Hearts is a fundraiser for the Legion that basically amounts to a raffle with a progressive pot.  If no one hits the Queen, the pile of money grows.  This $50,000 pot is the largest the Legion has seen since the drawing started five years ago.

Dale Delaporte has been working these Queen of Hearts events since the beginning days.  He says the real goal is to bring people to the American Legion Hall.

"For years we've tried to let the people know the legion is open to the public," Delaporte said. "People think there's a membership but anyone can come to the legion at any time."

The event has grown so popular that parking at the Legion Hall on Route MM in Hannibal has become a problem on Queen of Hearts nights.  People are having to park at the Legion Golf Course or other nearby businesses.  It's a great problem to have when a fundraiser becomes so popular, Delaporte says.

The pot breaks down so that 10% goes to the American Legion, 10% goes to a local charity, 10% goes back into the pot and the balance goes to the winner.  That means someone is very likely to go home with $35,000 this Valentines Day.  If the Queen of Hearts isn't drawn, that means an even bigger pot the following week.

The American Legion hosts the Queen of Hearts drawing every Friday.  Ticket sales end at 6:45 p.m., and the drawing starts at 7 p.m.

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