A night at the Carp drive-in…BINGO style

Over the loud speakers with perfect annunciation B-14 is called. Daub. Followed by N-34. Daub. Then G-60. Daub. My heart feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest as I almost have a line. Ya, ya. Little things excite me. B-2. Zoot! O-69. O-69 is repeated. Woohoo! I lay my hand on the steering wheel and honk.

Yep. Honk. That’s right folks. I honk the horn on my car. Why? Because I’m at the drive-in bingo of course.

carp fair drive-in bingo; bingo cards; carp fair agricultural society; carp fair; carp bingo
Carp Fair drive-in bingo
Photo credits: Carp Fair & Auntie Times

This is the scene every Wednesday night of July in Carp, aka my community, aka the centre of the universe. Center ring at the fairgrounds is filled with excitement as the drive-in bingo has become a ritual for many around Ottawa and the Valley. Friends and families line the grounds to create unforgettable memories. Cause let’s face it, how many people can say they’ve been to a drive-in bingo?

What to expect

When you pull up to the fairgrounds you are greeted by friendly volunteers. For ten bucks you get 12 regular game sheets plus a jackpot game. Each sheet contains 9 cards so unless you’re a real pro, it’s plenty of bingo.

carp fair drive-in bingo; bingo cards; carp fair agricultural society; pie; carp fair
Blueberry goodness

After you are directed on where to park, hit up to the canteen. There’s a BBQ and the best part? You don’t have to cook. For dessert grab a slice of pie. Oh my gawd make sure you get the pie. They are all homemade and sooooooo delicious. If you wait for the break, there’s no guarantee that there will be any left so get it early. Daubers are also available at the canteen in case you forget yours.

There’s no golden rule on where you daub. While it’s a “drive-in” some people bring blankets to spread out while others gather around in camping chairs. The Agricultural Society also sets up a few tables and chairs near the front for the keeners.

Around 7:30 pm the daubbing begins. Numbers are called old-school style: announced by a caller over the loudspeaker who repeats it at least twice. It goes fast but not so fast that it leaves your head spinning. The caller is good to let you know what colour card you are playing and the game (line, T, X, cross, blackout).

carp fair drive-in bingo; bingo cards; carp fair agricultural society; carp fair; carp bingo

After an hour or so of gaming they take a short break. Enough time to grab a snack and some 50/50 cards. Sellers are set-up at red tables between the aisles. Cards have 3 boards and are $1 each. I’ve been on nights where the take home is well over $400. Not too shabby for a small town game!

It’s not a super late night as things wrap up between 10:00 – 10:30 pm. Parfait for those who have to work the next day or need to get the littles to bed.

Five tips for a great night of daubing

  1. Bring a clipboard or a piece of cardboard. While the Agricultural Society has a number of boards to dab on, they do sometimes run out. Having something handy to dab on will make your life a lot easier in the event they’re out.
  2. Bug spray is a must. Whether you’re in sitting outside or in your car the little critters can be nasty.
  3. If you’ve got the lights or radio on in the car, it’s good idea to start it every now and then. Makes getting home a bit easier.
  4. Let the kiddos wear their jammies so you can plunk them right into bed when you get home.
  5. Develop a system – for the special games (X, cross, T, etc) only dab those numbers within that shape. Trust me, you’ll find the shape much faster. Plus you won’t continue to ask “what game are we playing again?”

Now this one is for the “professionals” only: bring a headlamp. It gets dark and while there are lights all around the ring, you don’t want shadows casting over your boards.

carp fair drive-in bingo; bingo cards; carp fair agricultural society; carp fair; carp bingo
Professional dauber

Overall it’s just a big excuse to get together and support a great cause. Proceeds from the evening support making the best little fair in Canada happen. So git’yur daubbers ready and we’ll see you at the BINGO!

carp fair; drive-in bingo


When: every Wednesday in July. BBQ starts at 6:00 pm; Bingo at 7:30 pm. Rain or shine.
Where: Carp Fairgrounds, Carp Road just north of March Road in the village of Carp (about 15 minutes west of Canadian Tire Centre)
Cost: $10 a board; $1 per 50/50 sheet. BBQ & snacks available
More info: www.carpfair.ca or 613-839-2172


16 Responses

  1. I think this would be really fun with a bunch of friends! The fact that the funds go to a charity is a nice bonus.

    Ah, Carp. Ever wacky! 😀
    (Hello! Garlic Fest!!)

    Fun post!

Leave your babble below