Alabamians, Georgians cross lines for lottery and fireworks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Alabamians, Georgians cross lines for lottery and fireworks

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July 2, 2004

Early County- Riverside Travel Center is full of millionaire hopefuls from Alabama.

Thomas Grommes says he sees car tags from all over. "Dothan, Enterprise, Fort Rucker. We could have four or five cashiers and you still couldn't get them in quick enough."

But owners say they don't mind because the Georgia lottery has kept them in business.

"One person will come out, and they'll buy $500 worth and say these are for the guys at work. Monday we're going to go online, and we're going to check it out and see what happens," Grommes laughs.

The jackpot has now rolled over 15 times without a winner, and is now up to an estimated $290 million. Great news for these lottery players.

"I didn't know anything about it until I walked into the store, so I'm going to get in line. You never know," says Louise Weddell.

"Alabama definitely needs this. We're just wasting money bringing all that to Georgia," says Cathy Manora.

Just as Alabamians will cross the state line for the lottery, Georgians are heading the other way for fireworks.

"This is the third time we've stocked this store. They bring us more in two or three times a week," says Robin Scearce of Holiday Fireworks.

Holiday Fireworks is one of the first businesses travelers hit as they cross the state line, and employees say despite the law prohibiting them, many of their customers are Georgians.

"Its the excitement of it all. It makes the spirit a whole lot stronger. You've got to have something to do," says customers Christy Pilkinton and Brandon Sumner.

"We won't close the doors until the last customer is served every night from here on out, so we might be open to midnight but that's fine too," says Scearce.

As long as fireworks remain illegal in Georgia, and the lottery stays out of Alabama, Holiday Fireworks and Riverside Travel Center will happily serve out-of-state customers.

The winning numbers for the Mega Millions jackpot will be drawn Friday night at 11 PM and will be held in New York City's Times Square.

Posted at 5:50 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com