EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) The last night of this year’s Fall Festival was also the last chance for people to buy tickets for this year’s Half Pot. 

Tonight’s drawing was for the $1.5 million pot. This year’s half pot was the highest since it started a few years ago.

At the ticket booths lining West Franklin St., surrounded by the smells coming from nearby food booths, last minute buyers thought they could smell a winning ticket.

“I bought the 50 chances,” said David Stanford, who attended the festival from Alabama.

“I bought three 20s,” responded Audrey Ripplemeier.

“60. That was $60. 20 were for my mom, and 20 were for my girlfriend’s grandma and 20 for me,” said Noah Singer of Gibson County.

West Side Nut Club members say this year’s total topped last year’s of more than $1.3 million, and were pleasantly surprised at turnout this year. Half the money goes to the winner, the other half to community groups.

“I think it’s good for the community because they get half of it, and they get to spend it for the community. I like that idea,” said Robin Long of Evansville.

The Half Pot hit the $1.5 million mark less than a half hour before booths closed at two this afternoon. The confidence in last minute buyers varied.

“Yeah, confident,” Singer said, when asked how confident he was in winning.

“I hope so, but if I don’t, that’s O.K. too,” said Long.

Others already had ideas on what they’d do with their share if they won.

“I would probably pay off a bunch of bills, honestly,” Stanford said.

“I would invest a little and payoff my daughters veterinary school,” added Ripplemeirer.

No matter who wins, ticket buyers say the community’s already won.

“$1.5 million, there’s a lot of things you can do with that. It’s nice that they have it, definitely brings the community together, there’s a lot of buying in,” said Singer.

Nut club says the winner has thirty days to claim their prize.

(This story was originally published on October 9, 2021)