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All bets on at Monte Carlo night
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Forsyth County News

When the chips are down, the house is up. That's the plan for the third annual Monte Carlo Night at Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

The event raised about $39,000 last year and event coordinator Karen Smith hopes to do the same at Saturday's event.

"It's just good clean fun," she said. "Everyone can come out and be in a safe environment."

While 90 percent of the proceeds go toward paying off debt accrued to build the parish life center, education wing and administration offices, the remaining 10 percent is split between two charities.

This year, the steering committee selected the St. Vincent de Paul Society and No Longer Bound.

"[The society] serves the entire community regardless of religious beliefs," she said. "We decided it was time to reach out to a group of men and boys ... because we're always helping women and children, so we decided to reach out to the men this time."

Each ticket includes $2,000 in casino chips, heavy hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

Games include craps, roulette, blackjack and poker. In addition to door prizes, a silent auction and bingo, prizes will be given for chip counts.

Prizes range from a round of golf for four at the Polo Golf & Country Club and a king-size quilt to dining gift certificates and gas cards.

The grand prize is a four-day, three night trip to New York City. Event co-chair Marilyn Downen won the trip during the first Monte Carlo event.

"There are some real quality prizes," said her husband Perry Downen, who also co-chairs the event.

"I don't gamble, to tell you the truth ... but I enjoy being around people and seeing them have a good time," he said. "In the end, I'm helping my community."

Monte Carlo Night is the church's largest fundraiser, though it has several smaller ones throughout the year, including an Oct. 4 craft fair and women's council bake sale.

"We're all called to serve," Smith said. "I just never knew I'd be called to serve at Monte Carlo. But I have over 65 wonderful volunteers in the church that help me put this on.

"We're coming together, having fun and giving back to the community."