The pouring rain failed to dampen spirits of Bingo-players-in-waiting as time turned slowly to 5:30, start time for the BINGO EXTRAVAGANZA at the Northside Knights of Columbus Hall on October 5, 2012. Players had begun arriving at 3:30, even knowing that they would not be registered until the appointed time. The clock ticked slowly. Rain poured hard. Excitement ran high.
“But wasn’t it just Bingo?” you may ask and yes, it was just Bingo. But it was also the 20th Annual Little Sisters of the Poor Bingo Extravaganza, an Indianapolis event so popular registrations were closed after only three hours back in August. To those new to the event, the reality was far, far greater than anything anticipated. The Bingo Extravaganza Committee had spent the last year preparing for the event by soliciting donations from every kind of store, service, and restaurant (329 in all!). These were assembled into remarkably decorated gift baskets with varied themes – BBQ at the Beach, Fall Harvest, Holiday Party, Chocolate Lovers, Coffee & Biscotti, to name just a few. Baskets, Lottery Tickets, Gift Cards, Sports Tickets and much more were offered on over 60 Tip Boards and all sold out. Nine Pull Tab games were also offered, and sold out. For a sure thing, many attendees bought a Mystery Bag for $10, guaranteed to get back at least $10 in value, but might also draw a bag worth anywhere up to $100 in value. 300 Mystery Bags were prepared, and all sold out. Raffle Extravaganza also set records. At stake to the lucky grand prize winner was an overnight stay at the JW Marriott Hotel, two street-level tickets to a Colts game, a gift card to St. Elmo’s Restaurant and breakfast gift cards to Le Peep Restaurant. The second place winner received a Samsung 40” LCD TV, a gift card to Fresh Market and a dozen yummy Gigi’s cupcakes. The Bingo Coverall (finale to the ten bingo games) winner received a La-Z-Boy® recliner (“It’s just my size!” said the man who won this cushy prize), and a host of other prizes. The 50/50 raffle yielded a record amount to the lucky winner as well as to the Little Sisters.
Little Sisters and committee members served lunch and beverages; every table was stocked with candy, popcorn, and snacks because Bingo is hungry work. There were enough volunteers to fill the 97 positions needed to keep the evening running smoothly. Bingo caller Barney Hayes was joined by good friend Jersey Johnny Cimasko, host of the WFNI ESN Colts radio program. In between games, the time was filled with announcements of tip board, pull tab and door prize winners. As soon as the next game would begin, a hush would come over the room, and players had serious looks of concentration similar to those of people taking college entrance exams or Olympic qualifiers, broken only with a chorus of “Noooo!” when someone called “Bingo!”
Fr. Phil Haslinger reported that neither he nor anyone in his party won anything! They, like most people, are planning to come back next year and are already asking when the 2013 registration will begin. Not everyone won a big prize, but everyone walked out the door with a very nice goodie bag filled with gift items, treats, and the traditional rolls of gift wrap and containers of autumn mix candies. And most of all, participants enjoyed a night that was full of fun and support of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s St. Augustine Home, a very good cause.
A special thanks goes out to all our merchandise donors, Jeanne Jugan Sponsors, Event and Game Sponsors, Bingo Angel Financial donors and all our wonderful volunteers who make this possible year after year.
The 21st Annual Bingo Extravaganza will be held on Friday, October 4, 2013.
Click here for a photo slideshow from this successful event!