Bulletin ticket give-away contests have had a long run

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

We have another contest cooking, but it’s not a cooking contest. This is the second biggest one of the year -- the Renaissance Festival. There will be more, but this one is one of the heavy-hitters.

So, fill out the entry form and mail it in. It will run it again next week.

The timeline is a little tight this year because all the tickets we are giving away are for opening weekend, Saturday or Sunday, Oct 11-12. That’s probably the most spectacular weekend, and we want you to be part of it.

The theme is Oktoberfest, celebrating the food, costumes, history and drinks of Germany – mostly the drinks.

Our ticket giveaways have been very popular over the years. The entries have increased as more readers find out that they can have a lot of fun without paying for it.

Well, you do have to pay for things, but the entry fee is covered.

In our 20 years of publishing The Bulletin, there has been only one contest that failed to hit the spot.

It was the Shakespeare Contest - I wonder why?

You actually had to earn this one. We asked a question about a play by Shakespeare, and from the correct entries, two winners were chosen to receive a Bulletin coffee mug.

I have long forgotten the question, but at the time I was taking a Shakespeare literature class in graduate school. In my ultimate wisdom, I decided that everyone would be as interested in that guy as I had to be to get a passing grade.

We only received two correct entries, so they both won.

That was a long time ago. The Bulletin phone number on the coffee mug still had a 409 area code. We’re going back a few years.

We still have a few of those mugs, but I plan to hang on to them so that sometime in the future they can be displayed in The Bulletin wing of the Smithsonian Institution. It’s never too early to plan for things like that, or we won’t have all the important artifacts they will request.

I’ve also kept some floppy disks, and the pencil my daughter stuck in one of my computers at age four, in an attempt to “fix” the floppy drive right before deadline.

If you have been following my column for a while, you have read about this several times. It’s always entertaining to write about it, although back when it happened I didn’t think it was all that funny.

Anyway, no more Shakespeare contests for us.

We used to have an old shoe box in which we put the entries and let one of our cats pick the winners. We had to stop that after many of our entry forms became illegible.

Now we just close our eyes and pick them.

A lot of contests I have come across actually want you to “like” a Facebook page or subject yourself to some product promotion that turns a profit for the company.

We didn’t do that either, mostly because we didn’t think of it.

One problem with our Facebook page is that it’s sort of the stepchild of the business. We are not as enthusiastic about it as we are about the actual paper version of The Bulletin.

We tinker with it, but it doesn’t really determine what direction the paper is taking. It’s sort of like being the third-string quarterback on a football team. I had to use that analogy because it is football season.

It would be great if you did visit our Facebook Page and liked it. You don’t really have to like it, as long as you just “Like” it.

The old-fashioned way of mailing in the entries still works best, so that’s what we’re doing. There are no questions to answer, no puzzles to solve. We are not going to sell your information to timeshare companies.

After the contest is over, we won’t even be able to locate the entry blanks that were sent in, because they will be lost. They will probably wind up with my long lost set of car keys. Either way, they are nice and safe somewhere inside Bulletin Headquarters.

So, dear readers, enter the contest, and wait with a “collective bated breath” to see if you have won. I just had to use that ridiculous cliche. I actually changed it from “collective sigh of relief,” but it will do. And, I looked it up. It’s bated breath, not baited breath.

Who says I never research my material? Somebody may have a long time ago. I’ve never heard anyone say it, though.