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Photo: Getty Images, License: N/A, Created: 2019:01:07 13:53:57

Who says it’s too cold out to play the ponies?

On Saturday, Jan. 26, Queen of the Apostles Parish in Avoca will host its annual Night at the Races fundraiser

in the parish hall, 742 Spring St.

Doors open for the event at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 6, and the races beginning at 7.

Admission is $10 per person and includes food and beverages. Meanwhile, guests can bring their own beverages and snacks for the table.

Horse sponsorships are $10 each, with the sponsor of the winning horse winning $50.

Sponsorship registration forms are available in the church vestibule or the parish office, and should be returned to the parish office by Friday, Jan. 18, for inclusion in the event program. Returns made after that date will be added to a race the night of the event.

For more information, contact the parish office at 570-457-3412 or staff@queenoftheapostles.com.

According to Jim McMahon, the event’s fundraising chairman, this is the fourth or fifth year in a row that the parish has hosted the Night at the Races.

“We always do it in either January or February,” he said. “It always works out well for this time of year.”

Typically, the parish raises between $3,000 and $4,000 at the event, with proceeds benefiting a number of parish projects, McMahon said.

“It goes toward repairs or whatever comes up,” he said.

Ten races are held altogether, with odds placed just like at a real horse race. The parish gets the computerized horse-racing system from Wilkes-Barre-based Fundraising USA. The system features a big screen, laptop and volume control. Each virtual horse has a number, but not a name, which is left up to the sponsors.

“It’s pretty neat,” McMahon said. “We usually get at least 200 people who come out. Families come out and they make a night out of it. People reserve tables. But you don’t have to be there to win. I would say 250 horses, in total, will be sold by the end of the night. If people see that their neighbor is winning, they’ll go buy a horse.”

Meanwhile, the night will also include 50/50 tickets, music and dinner.

“This is the first year we’re doing a dinner. That’s why we upped the admission price a little,” McMahon said. “We’ll probably have sausage and peppers, chicken, ziti, things like that.”

The Night at the Races is just one of several fundraisers Queen of the Apostles holds throughout the year. Other events include a chicken dinner in March, a golf tournament in May and a pig roast in July.

Given its popularity, the Night at the Races should remain a mainstay for years to come.

“The people who come out really enjoy it,” McMahon said. “It’s a fun night out for everybody.”

If you go

What: Queen of the Apostles Parish annual Night at the Races

When: Saturday, Jan. 26, with doors opening at 5 p.m., dinner at 6, and races at 7.

Where: Queen of the Apostles parish hall, 742 Spring St., Avoca

Details: Admission is $10 per person and includes dinner and beverages. Horse sponsorships are $10 each. For information, contact the parish office at 570-457-3412 or staff@queenoftheapostles.com.