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‘Ottawa Has Talent’ suspended, ‘headliner’ sought for July 4th fireworks

Shown here is one of this year's Independence Day fireworks raffle tickets. The ideal time to buy a $20 raffle ticket to raise funds for Ottawa’s annual Independence Day fireworks display is by Saturday. The first of eight prize awards takes place Sunday.
Shown here is one of this year's Independence Day fireworks raffle tickets. The ideal time to buy a $20 raffle ticket to raise funds for Ottawa’s annual Independence Day fireworks display is by Saturday. The first of eight prize awards takes place Sunday.

The annual Ottawa Has Talent competition has been canceled for this year — and probably indefinitely.

However, talent is being sought as the “headliner” act before the Skydive Chicago parachutists who precede Ottawa’s annual massive fireworks show.

Entertainment suggestions are being welcomed by Lou Anne Carretto, the treasurer for Ottawa First, the nonprofit organization that raises money for the city’s annual Independence Day fireworks display. She can be called at 815-252-4350.

The Ottawa Has Talent competition had been held for five years. But two years ago, the show was suspended to focus on a long-awaited performance by the 24-piece 85th Army Band the evening of Independence Day. The group decided there would not be time for both the talent contest winners and the band to perform at the Ottawa High School football field before the fireworks started.

The talent competition was reinstituted last year, but the event’s momentum had been broken and participation was low.

This year, Ottawa First members have decided to focus their efforts on selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the fireworks display, which has become a popular area event.

The last three years the tickets have sold out. This year sales are lagging, Carretto reported at the group’s meeting Wednesday. Last year at this point 516 tickets had been sold. So far this year sales are at 402.

The $20 tickets offer eight chances to win.

There are $250 “early bird” prizes on Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and Father’s Day.

The big prizes are $1,000 on July 1, $2,000 on July 2, $3,000 on July 3 and $10,000 on July 4.

All the winning numbers are based on the winning Evening Pick 4 Illinois Lottery numbers on the designated prize dates and linked to the numbers on the fireworks lottery tickets.

Tickets can be purchased at various locations in Ottawa, including Handy Foods, 604 W. Main St., Herman’s Package Store, 504 W. Main St., and City Hall, 301 W. Madison St.

Tickets also are frequently sold on Saturdays from tables outside Handy Foods, Herman’s and Financial Plus Credit Union.

Additionally, Ottawa First member Bob Carretto has a standing offer to deliver tickets to the home or office of purchasers. His phone number is 815-252-3750.

Also at the meeting, an appreciation plaque was presented for Ottawa First’s participation in this year’s Penguin Plunge at Heritage Harbor to raise money for Make-A-Wish. The presentation was by Linda Johnson, who is a volunteer with both organizations.

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