Chamber calls for 4th of July royalty candidates

The Fourth of July is three months away, and the start of ticket sales for the annual fundraising raffle is still eight weeks away, but the chamber of commerce figures it’s not too early to start asking who wants to volunteer for this year’s royalty competition.

The royalty contestants sell tens of thousands of $1 raffle tickets that pay for the community’s Fourth of July fireworks, festivities and events. They get to keep a portion of their sales for all their hard work, using the money for college or anything else.

Ticket sales start May 31 and close July 3.

The prize drawing will be held July 4. The chamber is still discussing this year’s prizes, said Tommy Wells, the group’s executive director. Last year’s three winners received cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000.

Anyone interested in the royalty competition can pick up an application packet at the chamber offices in the Stikine Inn.

Contestants must be at least 14 years old, and they need an adult to sign on as the person in charge, plus a food manager and a finance director, Wells explained. All of the managers must be at least 21 years old.

If the contestant is at least 18 years old, they don’t need an adult to sign as the person in charge, he added.

Past royalty contestants sold most of their raffle tickets at food booths downtown, offering a varied menu all month long in June. Contestants need a state-issued temporary food service permit and at least one person in the booth must have a state-issued food handlers permit, Wells said.

There is no firm deadline to apply for the royalty contest, he said, but with so much advance work, planning, lining up sponsors and arranging a crew and volunteers, anyone interested should pick up the information packet and start making plans soon.

“A candidate who begins later than everyone else will, naturally, be behind, so the sooner they register their intent and complete the necessary paperwork, the sooner they can begin making preparations,” Wells said last week.

“We’re hoping we get more than one candidate,” he said.

The chamber, which organizes the annual holiday celebration, has confronted tight finances in recent years amid a downward trend in ticket sales and rising costs. The nonprofit organization reported before last year’s Fourth that its expenses had exceeded revenues the past six years, draining the chamber’s reserves.

After record ticket sales in 2016 of $126,408, when two contestants competed for the crown, sales have declined, with just one contestant in many years. Ticket sales by a single contestant totaled $53,704 in 2023 and $56,260 in 2022.

The borough assembly last year authorized an additional $25,000 to help the chamber cover its Fourth of July expenses as the organization worked to cut spending and bring in additional sponsors to help cover the costs of many of the events.

The assembly appropriated $22,000 to $27,000 per year to help pay the chamber’s general operating budget in fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023, but did not include any direct contribution to the chamber for the budget year that ends June 30.

Wells said the chamber intends to ask the assembly to include a contribution in the borough budget that will be drafted later this spring for the fiscal year that starts July 1.


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