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Belly Up

Nov 10, 2011
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Bingolicious at The Garden is ‘bingo with a twist’

Last year’s Bingolicious event raised about $5,000 for Planned Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. (All players must be 21 or older).

By Amber Williams

According to legend, there was once a farmer who had a dog, and Bingo was supposedly his name-o. But it’s doubtful that many farmers will be attending bingo night at The Garden this year for its fourth annual Bingolicious event to benefit Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Although, if you ask drag queen Madison Cavalier, the event draws people of all sorts.

“It’s a nice, different group of people,” Cavalier said. “Bingolicious is an opportunity for people to come together with others from all aspects of our community and give back to a good cause while having a wonderful time.”

Bingolicious is “bingo with a twist,” said Karla Bromwell, social chairperson for the Planned Parenthood Young Leaders. “Essentially, you are playing bingo, but the numbers are called by drag queens.”

The queens’ facilitation of the game is one unique feature of Bingolicous, but more importantly, Bromwell said, is that it raises money for a good cause in communities that stretch to Iowa’s border cities, and beyond. Every year, the event grows in both participation and proceeds, and Bromwell expects this year’s turnout will trump all past events.

“Last year was the biggest turnout so far. We had 150 people show up,” she said. “This year we decided to split it into two games going on in separate rooms to accommodate the crowd.”

Bingolicious raised approximately $5,000 in proceeds for Planned Parenthood Heart of Iowa last year, and Bromwell predicts that total will continue to increase year after year. Tickets are $25 each, which includes a free drink at the bar and pizza. However, after Nov. 14, the ticket prices go up to $30 per person. Although the entrance fees go toward PP Heartland, Bingo players can still win something, Bromwell assured. Prizes include gift cards to Zanzibar’s Coffee, Liberty Gifts, Proof, Flour, Mojo’s Restaurant, Kees Pole Fitness and more, all of which were donated for the cause, she said.

“Everyone has been so supportive. The Garden has always been so supportive of Planned Parenthood and its missions,” Bromwell said. “The owners have been very supportive as well as the community that frequents the bar. And the queens all volunteer their time. They are very talented, and they are not afraid to run the show. They have very outgoing personalities that fit well with this event.”

Bromwell said, if the bingo game sells out, people can still come to the drag show after the game for $10, which also includes a free drink ticket. Along with a drag show performance, the post bingo party will also feature pole dancing routines by Kees Pole Fitness members.

“The drag show afterward is basically a cap off for the night — a cherry on top of a sundae,” Cavalier said. “It’s our job to make the night as fun as possible for everybody. It’s not the normal show or normal experience, but if they’ve never been to a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) bar before, it’s a chance to walk away with a new, enlightened experience in your back pocket.” CV


What: Bingolicious fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Where: The Garden, 112 S.E. 4th St., Des Moines. 243-3965

When: Thursday, Nov. 17 — 5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m. Bingo, 8 p.m. post game performance

Cost: $25 until Nov. 14, then $30 each (includes free drink and pizza).

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