The 2016 Corvette Stingray raffle raised $185,000.
Chris and Marilyn Sweebe are now proud Corvette owners, and Unity in the Community couldn't be happier.
The Plant City-based organization, which donates to many area charities, held a presentation Tuesday, March 22, at Stingray Chevrolet, both to present the Sweebes with their new car and to announce the dollar amount raised by its annual Florida Strawberry Festival raffle.
This year's total, $185,000, broke last year's record by $23,000.
"It's just so wonderful," Stingray Chevrolet owner Steve Hurley said. "We couldn't do it without all the leadership of Plant City helping. The Florida Strawberry Festival allows us to have that foot traffic for 11 days, and it doubles the amount that we could raise otherwise."
Unity board members also announced that, in 2015, the organization raised around $200,000 total to spread among area charities. With $185,000 raised through this year's car raffle, Unity appears to be on pace to break that mark before the end of the year.
As for the Sweebes, they were surprised – and grateful – to have won the car.
"I've been levitating for over a week," Chris Sweebe said.
The Sweebes, who live in Pinellas Park, have been attending the Florida Strawberry Festival for over 30 years, and have entered the car raffle in every year of its existence.
"This has been one of the finest moments of my life, and my wife's," Chris Sweebe said.