The Bellevue College Foundation held their second annual BC Bingo fundraiser on June 2. Held at the beginning of pride month, this event was held in honor of the LGBTQ community and included guest star Waxie Moon, a notable boylesque performer in the Seattle area. “We wanted to do something fun that would honor the LGBT community,” said BC Foundation Executive Director Rebecca Chawgo. “We’re hoping that it becomes a strong tradition that at the beginning of every pride month we have a bingo with the big wheel.”
This event was hosted by West Coast Entertainment, an event planning company. Called “Big Wheel Bingo,” the event was made up of an announcer, someone who spun the wheel and someone at a sound station. “We just enjoy doing events for people. That’s our business. We are a total event planning company. We just do whatever portion people want us to do,” said Anthony Davis, an employee of West Coast Entertainment. Davis ran the photo booth at the event, where people could wear different props like hats and boas while they took photos with their friends.
“Today’s just really about fun and making friends,” said Chawgo.
During the event, multiple games of bingo were played where Waxie Moon would spin the wheel and the announcer would shout the numbers and make jokes along the way. The announcer of the second was Bing Wheeler. “[Wheeler] kept it entertaining throughout the entire two and a half hours which was amazing,” said Steven Xu, who won the second bingo game. “I really thought it was going to be some random guy just monotoning it but it was actually really entertaining.”
Wheeler stated that he enjoys doing these kinds of events. “A lot of people are excited, especially to do something for a place like Bellevue College,” he said, adding that he likes being able to “get in here and do some zany, kooky stuff.”
After each win, the player would have to discard their current bingo tickets and start over with new ones. Regular ticket prices were $20 for BC students and $30 for everyone else. “People who purchased their tickets were purchasing dinner and the show,” said Chawgo. “The bingo tickets are purchased at the door, separate.”
When people did win, they received unusual prizes. One person won a zombie survival manual, a zombie board game and a strawberry shortcake tin. Xu won a sombrero along with other items. “It was kind of overwhelming and the sombrero really pushed it over the top because I’ve never wanted one but now I know why people want a sombrero,” he said.
“This is not about gambling, this is just about fun, so they’re not prizes that have monetary value, they’re just fun and exciting,” said Chawgo.
Towards the end of the event, Waxie Moon performed a dance to “Single Ladies.” Chawgo stated that Moon is probably one of the most well-known boylesque performers in Seattle. “If you go down to Pike Place Market there’s a 20-foot mural of him,” she said. “When we first brought this up two years ago, there was a lot of apprehension about ‘what’s a drag queen going to do?’” Chawgo then went on to say that she was really happy Moon came and performed. “I think it went really well, everyone had a great time,” she said. “We’re helping people overcome their prejudices in a small way.”
Moon also stated that he loved performing at these kinds of events. “It’s a real pleasure. I love big wheel bingo,” he said. “I like getting to perform but I also like that I get to be part of the game and part of the everything, part of the fundraising, part of the magic that happens with this.”
The performers and many of the audience members agreed that this event was important to the BC community. “It brings people together,” said Wheeler, adding that the comradery of a game and of a challenge and also all the different jokes that happen help to do so.
“I think it’s important to come together. I think it’s important to support live theater and live events,” said Moon. “We can get into our little boxes and watch our Netflix and not engage with each other. I really appreciate that this is a collective activity.”
Xu stated that he thought it was good that something like bingo can be made interesting for more than one age group. “When you make it fun and entertaining and make it have the ability to make it fun for kids and also people that are 20 or 30, I think it’s great,” he said.
Over 200 people attended this event. The money collected will go towards the BC Foundation to support scholarships, according to Chawgo. The foundation is planning a bingo event for next year’s pride month as well. “We’d love to have more students come out,” said Chawgo.