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Our 28th year of publishing

Published September 21, 2021

We have run all kinds of contests over the years

By John Toth / The Bulletin

We have come a long way from the days of giving away a prize for knowing Shakespeare or counting turkeys.

We have teamed up with the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) again this year to bring you the biggest ticket give-away contest of the year.

We have been partnering with festival organizers for many years, but this year we outdid ourselves, and you, dear reader, will reap the benefits.

The festival is one of the most popular events of the year, and also our biggest contests. This year it is even bigger. How big is it? It’s this big - I’m spreading my hands apart as far as I can. That’s big.

We have been giving tickets away through these contests for more than two decades and have received many heart-warming messages and letters from people who won. We don’t print those correspondences, but have answered all of them, and we appreciate the kind words.

I can’t remember what our first contest was, but I do remember our worst. It was the Shakespeare Contest.

I was taking graduate philosophy courses at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, and we were studying Shakespeare. It was a hard class because he was born in 1564 and died in 1616, when the English language was a little different than today.

It was a slow read. I had to stop and look up what he was really saying. I think the play was “All's Well That Ends Well.” It was actually funny once I got the jokes. It took a while.

I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to run a familiar quote from the play and ask readers to send in the contest entry with the correct title of the play? The winners would receive a Bulletin coffee mug. The mugs had the Bulletin phone number printed on them along with other promotional stuff.

To give you some idea how long ago we ran the contest, the area code in south Brazoria County was still 409. The professor was bragging that we could check out from the school’s library all of Shakespeare’s works on this fancy new thing called CD-ROM. There were only a few available, so she urged us to rush over there. I never did. I just looked stuff up in books back in those days.

We geared up for the contest. We planned to give away three mugs. The names of the winners who answered the question correctly would be drawn from one of the mugs.

We ran the contest for two weeks and kept anxiously checking the mail. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Shakespeare was not all that popular among Bulletin readers.

We received exactly three entries, and only two of them contained the correct play title. We bent the rules a little and mailed out Bulletin mugs to all three entrants. Then we buried the idea of a Shakespeare Contest forever.

We also ran a Find the Turkey contest one year. We pasted little turkeys all over the pages in hard to find locations and asked readers how many there were in the entire issue. The correct entries won something, probably a Bulletin mug.

The turkey contest did better than Shakespeare, but we tabled that also. It was too hard to keep track of all those turkeys.

Finally, we decided to just ask readers to mail in entry forms and we would select winners at random - no more turkeys or Shakespeare. That turned out to be the best format.

So, dear reader, if you want a chance to win some Sunday TRF tickets, complete the entry coupon and send it in by mail, email or fax, as outlined in the coupon. We’ll put your entry in a box and root that you’ll win.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)