Motorcycle Raffle Raises Funds for N.H. Theatre Arts
New Hampshire's arts community was revved up this weekend as Laconia Harley-Davidson presented a $25,000 check to The Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith.
The proceeds were raised from a summer long raffle of a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street-Glide motorcycle donated by the Lakes Region dealership to support the expansion of the Playhouse's Meredith campus.
Laconia Harley-Davidson's donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a local benefactor resulting in a $50,000 contribution, a significant addition to the Playhouse's capital campaign. In the last four years, Laconia Harley-Davidson has raised over $120,000 in support of New Hampshire nonprofits including the Loon Preservation Society, the New Hampshire Food Bank and the $25,000 donation to The Winnipesaukee Playhouse.
Laconia Harley-Davidson announced the motorcycle donation as a kick-off to Laconia Bike Week in June. They were joined by Lakes Region Harley owners, New Hampshire Commissioner for Cultural Resources Van McLeod, supporters of The Winnipesaukee Playhouse and actors portraying William Shakespeare and Don Quixote.
Organizers expected to sell raffle tickets throughout the entire summer but support for the Playhouse was overwhelming and all 2,500 raffle tickets sold out in record time during Laconia Bike Week.
Bryan Halperin (Winnipesaukee Playhouse Executive Director) says: "The support we received from Laconia Harley-Davidson was an amazing kick-start to our summer season, and a huge asset to our capital campaign.
"Construction is already underway on the new theatre and Laconia Harley-Davidson's contribution will not only go a long way in helping us achieve our goals but also proves there is great support for our new theatre campus from the local business community."
The Winnipesaukee Playhouse is a nonprofit organization that develops and stages professional and community-based theatrical productions and provides year-round opportunities in theatre and the performing arts for the community. The Playhouse currently performs in an intimate Off-Broadway style theatre in a renovated store front in Laconia.
The performance space has been praised by patrons for making them feel a part of the play, however with only 84 seats and an increasing demand for tickets and programming, the physical capacity of the space has prompted the organization to find ways to expand.
The Playhouse is in the midst of a three-phased plan to create a state-of-the-art theatre campus in Meredith that will provide artistic and educational opportunities for the community and expand programming that will serve Lakes Region residents, businesses and visitors.
Anne Deli (Owner, Laconia Harley-Davidson) says: "The Winnipesaukee Playhouse provides immense value to the community and the region - which goes far beyond providing high-quality performances.
"Its leadership is dedicated to transforming the Lakes Region into a cultural destination - an effort that is taking shape. We are proud to support that vision and grateful for the generosity of our customers, staff and New Hampshire HOG Chapters who supported this campaign."
Dozens of Lakes Region Harley riders and Playhouse supporters came together Saturday to celebrate the achievement and find out the winner of the 2012 Harley-Davidson Street-Glide motorcycle. The raffle itself provided some added excitement as the first name picked was inadvertently declared the grand prize winner. Contest rules stipulate that the first name selected would win a $100 Laconia Harley gift card, the second name would win a $500 gift card and the third name picked would win the grand prize.
Recognizing the error, Laconia Harley management determined that they would award two motorcycles - one for the unintended winner, Sarah Tillotson of Richford, Vermont along with a $100 gift card - and another motorcycle for the third name selected, Adam Wilson of Massena, NY. Second prize was not affected and a $500 gift card was awarded to Gary Gagne.
Anne Deli says: "While it was an honest mistake, we felt that it was important to maintain the integrity of this raffle and future non-profit partners and award two motorcycles - one to the person we announced on stage and another to the rightful winner. We are delighted that two people will enjoy the thrill of owning and riding a Harley."
The Playhouse was founded in 2004 with the vision of bringing quality arts and arts education to The Lakes Region. The theatre has become a cultural gem in the area winning both critical acclaim and becoming an important outlet for the performing arts in central New Hampshire.
In 2007, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse assumed ownership of the former Annalee Doll Complex on Reservoir Road in Meredith. Phase one of the campus renovations included the installation of municipal water, sewer, roadways, lighting, parking, staff accommodations and an outdoor amphitheater, which has been completed.
Phase two includes the construction of a new performance theater, which will double the Playhouse's seating capacity and enable them to better serve the community with year-round professional and community theater, cultural performances, youth programs, workshops and camps. The new facility will also allow the Playhouse to partner with other non-profit organizations and businesses. Learn more about the Winnipesaukee Playhouse at winniplayhouse.org.