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McHenry VFW Queen of Hearts creates boon for local businesses

The massively popular Queen of Hearts drawing is a boon for some McHenry businesses.

Many establishments near the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600, 3002 Route 120, have seen increases in customer traffic since the popular drawing’s jackpot passed $5 million earlier this year.

Jennifer Guasta, owner of Windhill Pancake Parlor, 3307 W. Elm St., said she’s never experienced anything like what she saw Thursday, with Route 120 at a near standstill with motorists waiting to buy tickets.

“I have never seen it so busy,” Guasta said, adding that she would buy a new boat if she wins. “It attracts people to this side of town.”

John Macrito, owner of Corkscrew Pointe, 1402 Riverside Drive, said the drawing is on most customers’ minds.

“I’ve seen a 10 percent increase,” he said of business, adding that he plans to broadcast the drawing in his bar via Facebook Live. “I think it’s great for the town. I want someone local to win.”

VFW Cmdr. Dwane Lungren said he’s thankful other area establishments are benefiting from the game.

“We want to share the wealth,” said Lungren, who’s seen a more than 300 percent increase in food, liquor and beer sales. “A month and a half ago, when this really started overflowing, I heard that D.C. Cobb’s, (1204 N. Green St.), and Henny Penny (1709 Route 120) Saturday and Sunday mornings have a bigger breakfast crowd. I just had a lady ask me if there were other places around here for food.”

Lungren, who’s been helping steer the ship, said he’s thankful Mayor Wayne Jett is working with the VFW.

“He knows that the community itself has gotten a boon from it,” Lungren said.

A drawdown will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, meaning tickets will be picked until one bears the number of the envelope containing the queen of hearts.

The pot stands at $7,080,528.

When the queen of hearts is chosen, the winner will earn 60 percent of the pot, which would be about $2.8 million after state and federal taxes.

Organizers estimate that about 2.8 million tickets will be sold for the drawing.

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