Both senses of the term could apply to a series of four events that will be starting Saturday, May 12 at Riley Rink, when the members of the Rutland-based Cairo Temple of the Shriners International set up shop for an afternoon of bingo. It's no small event - somewhere between 800-1,000 people are expected to attend.
The event, which is a major fund-raiser for the Cairo Temple's annual budget, was held at the former Pownal racetrack for the past 25 years, said Bruce Williams, the past potentate, or president, of the temple, or organizational chapter. But with the grandstand facility at the racetrack continuing to deteriorate, they decided it was time for a change of venue - and Riley Rink attracted the event, he said.
It's a little more centrally located, and may attract more folks from Rutland, he said. The event already draws players from Massachusetts, Saratoga and the Albany-Capital district area.
Some players can't wait that long and have already made the trip to Manchester to check the new place out, he said.
"Some people have already made plans to go to dinner - people have already been over to check the venue and we're thrilled by what they saw and are coming back," he said.
So far, then, so good. And it works for Riley Rink too, said Susan Marmer, the
Setting up 230 tables and 1,000 chairs sounds like a tall order, but it's manageable, she said.
"I anticipate it will bring people to the community, which will help the economy a little bit," she said. "I'm excited about it and they (the Shriners) have been a great group to work with."
for the uninitiated, bingo works like this: Players match randomly drawn numbers against numbers on a pre-printed card. There are more several variations to the game, but most declare a player the winner when the numbers drawn create a pattern on the 5 column card. When that happens, it's B-I-N-G-O!
The Shriners have booked the rink for four events - May 12, June 2, August 11 and Oct. 13 - and the money raised from hosting the games are targeted for the temple's annual budget, Williams said.
"Bingo players play a lot of Bingo; people who are really into it, they'll play a lot of cards," he said.
Shriners have historically been known for their support of children's hospitals. The Cairo Temple helps support three such hospitals, one in Springfield, Mass, another in Montreal, and a third in Boston. Their temple is one of two in Vermont - the other being the Burlington-area based Mt. Sinai Temple - and are part of a larger Shriner association consisting of 15 temples in the northeast and Canada. All together, they support about 22 such children's hospitals, many of which specialize in burn treatments.
According to their temple's Web site, the Shriners began as an off-shoot of the Masonic Order. The two organizations are closely intertwined, and all Shriners are also Masons, whose origins can be traced back to 16th century Europe and probably earlier. Masons, while frequently associated with secret rituals and handshakes, are also widely involved in charitable and community service works.
The Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of commerce is also looking forward to an additional influx of 800 to 1,000 people on what would otherwise be a pre-tourist season weekend, said Berta Maginniss, the chamber's executive director.
"We think it's great and people will come and it will be an introduction to Manchester and they'll become frequent visitors and enjoy all the things we have in addition to bingo," she said. "We hope they'll come early and stay late or overnight."
The first of the four Bingo events starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the rink, with "early-bird" games starting at noon. For more information, call the Cairo Shriners at 1-855-247-5232.