PHILADELPHIA, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- GayBINGO, the region's wildly popular
HIV/AIDS fundraising event will mark its 6th anniversary this Saturday,
May 18th at 7 p.m. at the Gershman Y, Pine & Broad Streets in Center City.
GayBINGO's success is largely due to the combination of stage entertainment,
bingo prizes, and of course the Bingo Verifying Divas (BVDs) on roller blades.
There are 13 regular GayBINGOs in the year plus a Black-Tie version every
November, each with its own theme. No theme has been repeated in 6 years, and
some of the memorable ones include Super Hero GayBINGO, Disco GayBINGO,
GayBINGO a GoGo, and Married to the Mob GayBINGO.
In 2000, WHYY released the documentary, "gaybingo," which helped elevate
the status of the event, thus reaching folks who had never participated. In
2001, articles on GayBINGO appeared in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the
L.A. Times extolling the virtues of playing BINGO, raising funds for HIV/AIDS,
and enjoying the entertainment that is often over-the-top. In fact, GayBINGO
became so popular that tickets were selling out for each show within 5 minutes
of going on sale. Therefore, in order to meet the public's requests for
tickets, AIDS Fund decided to sell seats in the balcony in 2001, and can now
accommodate up to 900 individuals per show. "GayBINGO is a success because of
all the community involvement," said Susan Higginbotham, AIDS Fund's Executive
Director. "We could not have raised $1,153,698 without the GayBINGO sponsors,
players, entertainers, volunteers, BVDs, and staff members who all play a part
in producing and supporting an event that means so much to local AIDS service
organizations because of the grant funds generated."
Two of the individuals profiled in WHYY's documentary had this to say on
GayBINGO's anniversary: "Six years ago, I couldn't do anymore sad marches or
vigils, and I thought this would be a way to raise much needed money and have
some fun doing it. That it has become a Philadelphia institution is amazing
... that it has raised over one million dollars is gratifying ... but that it
brings together men and women, straight and gay, young and old, black and
white to laugh together for a few hours each month, well that just blows me
away!" said Mark "Chumley" Singer, co-host of GayBINGO. Carlota Ttendant,
Chumley's co-host said, "When we started GayBINGO, we had no idea that we
would still be selling out each month six years later."
AIDS Fund, producer of AIDS Walk Philly and GayBINGO, has raised more than
$12 million since 1990 for public awareness efforts and local agencies that
provide HIV/AIDS related programs. For more information on volunteer
opportunities, sponsorships or programs visit AIDS Fund's website at
http://www.aidswalkphilly.org or call (215) 731-9255.