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Bingo Bridges Generation Gap in Bemidji

Bemidji State University students had the opportunity to win grocery bags of food at Lakeside on Wednesday for “Grocery Bag Bingo” the event was sponsored by Hobson Memorial Union. Photo by Jessica Dalen.

By Joey Scanlan

Regardless of age, bingo events in Bemidji bring people together. With many locations around town offering bingo events, bingo proves to be an entertainment of choice.

Bemidji State University offered a “Grocery Bag Bingo” for students last Wednesday.

Students compare bingo cards before Grocery Bag Bingo held Wednesday at Lakeside. The students were allowed to play two cards each in hopes of winning a bag containing multiple groceries. Photo by Jessica Dalen.

“This event started two years ago,” said Ana Apostolou, BSU senior. “I don’t remember having anything like this my freshman year.”

Hobson Memorial Union staff hosted the event, and they offered full bags of groceries to the winners. The bags included pasta, sauce, pop tarts and more.

“I think it’s really great how the prizes are something that I would actually use,” said BSU student Kaley Quanrud. “It’s also nice to have something to do on a week night with my friends.”

Reaching beyond campus, Bar 209 hosts their “Bargo” every Thursday night for the past three years. They offer prizes such as gift cards, a free round of drinks and cash prizes. The cash prize grows higher each time no one wins the blackout round.

“Bargo gives people an incentive to come out, and people love winning free stuff,” mentioned Rachael Becker, a bartender at Bar 209. “The crowds grow larger when the money goes up; we usually hit capacity when it reaches over two grand.”

When questioned about the large college age crowds that show up to “Bargo” Becker said, “I think it’s for everyone not specifically just for college kids, but the drink specials included during the game are more college oriented.”

Jane Tesar, a seven-year veteran at Bemidji Eagles bingo, looks over her cards and as well as her tablemates’ cards who are new to bingo scene at the Eagles. Photo by Jessica Dalen.

As well, the Bemidji Eagles Club is no stranger to hosting Bingo. Jane Tesar has been attending bingo there for seven years.

“The people keep me coming back,” said Tesar. With a full house on Saturday afternoons, it is easy to see that she is not the only one coming back.

Bingo gives people something to look forward to in the winter months. With many different locations around town, it is clear to see that bingo is not going anywhere anytime soon.

“I guess I just think of it as a therapy,” said Tesar. “There’s a lot that goes on and it keeps my mind going.”