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AIDS Fund's GayBINGO Celebrates 6 Years This Month: The Delaware Valley's Most Popular Monthly Fundraiser Has Raised More Than 1 Million for HIV/AIDS Services, Prevention, & Public Awareness

May 13, 2002
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.



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