The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are holding an essay contest this summer and the winner will receive a free funeral:
One fan will be awarded either the promise of a free funeral or memorial service on “Celebration of Life” night presented by Reichel Funeral Home, Northampton, on Aug. 20 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders come to Coca-Cola Park.
The nearly $10,000 package includes a casket, professional services of a funeral director and staff, body removal, embalming or cremation, hearse and facility for funeral services, wake or viewing. The Northampton Memorial Co. will provide a $1,500 headstone and Richmar Florist promises a $300 casket spray of flowers.
It’s definitely up there on my list of unusual minor league promotions, which includes Coca-Cola Park’s piss game, as well as Charleston’s zero attendance game, and the St. Paul Saints’ bobblefoot giveaway.
But this is not the first time IronPigs GM Kurt Landes has arranged someone’s funeral. The Hagerstown Suns, his previous team, held the promotion in 2003, which received national attention. And the Goldklang Group’s Charleston RiverDogs (Goldklang also owns the aforementioned Saints) held a funeral giveaway even earlier than that:
Charleston RiverDogs Assistant General Manager Jim Lucas said contestants in his team’s 2000 promotion were asked to write essays on what would make their memorial service or eulogy unique. About 150 people entered the contest to win a $4,000 funeral that came with a casket, a funeral service, embalming and transportation.
He said the funeral home approached the RiverDogs with the promotion concept in an attempt to get new ideas for funeral services.
Lucas said that while the promotion didn’t boost game attendance, it helped a local family whose child had been dying of cancer.
The winning essay was by a woman who worked at a facility for cancer patients who gave her funeral certificate to a family in need.
It’s definitely an unusual promotion, and a real eye-catcher. But as amusing as it may be, it could really stand to help some people in need. The price of a funeral is ever-rising, and just because someone’s bereaved doesn’t make them saps.
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