By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY April 29, 2003 Some folks would walk a mile for a good hand of poker.
Especially if it would benefit a couple of worthy local causes, like a shelter for battered women and a project to help spruce up the village.
On Saturday in Liberty, scores of people bought tickets or signed up at the door to participate in the Second Annual Poker Walk.
After plunking down their 15 bucks, each walker visited five local watering holes to pick up a playing card and perhaps stave off a rainy day with a brew or a couple of shots.
At the end of the afternoon, the winning poker hand was awarded $200.
It all started at McCabes last year as a way of raising money for the Safe Passage Domestic Violence Program and Liberty ALIVE, a grassroots revitalization group associated with Sullivan Renaissance and Sullivan First.
In 2002, the joint venture pulled in about $2,600, which was divided equally between the two groups.
This time they get to divvy up quite a bit more: $4,400.
Safe Passage will use its share of the proceeds to install a security system at their safe house. Liberty ALIVE plans to use the funds for the 2003 Renaissance project: revitalizing local alleyways.
We split the kitty last year, and thats what were going to do this time around, said Elizabeth Dutcher, director of Safe Passage.
According to Jane Neufeld, who is in charge of fund raising for Liberty ALIVE, the group used their portion of last years winnings to help paint 23 buildings along Main Street, plant flowers around town and complete work at LaPolt Park.
As participants walked around town looking for the winning hand, they could use a t-shirt created by Missy McIntosh, a part-time bartender at McCabes, as a guide. It featured a map of the village with each bar located on the route: McCabes, the North End Bar, Seanachies, Cobblers and The Pub.
At the end of the day, everyone gathered at Warehouse III for a wind-down party.
My boss makes the t-shirts and sells the tickets, said Bonnie Nead.
Shes been tending bar at McCabes going on five years.
This is a real great event, and it helps a lot of people, added Nead.