To the delight of enthusiasts throughout the region, bingo’s long hiatus from Turlock drew to a close with Eagle Pride Bingo’s triumphant grand opening in January.
Formerly known as Paradise Bingo, the hall’s grand opening—which saw an influx of close to 200 players—unfortunately proved to be too successful in one aspect.
“Everybody was clapping and happy that bingo is back in Turlock, so that’s good,” said Eagle Pride Bingo chairman and Assyrian American Kids Foundation vice president Sam Bebleh. “However, we did have a problem with noise because the ceilings aren’t soundproof.”
Bebleh attributes the resulting drop in attendance from 183 people on Friday to 73 people on Monday to the overwhelming volume in the hall that accompanies larger crowds.
“We’ve talked to the fairgrounds and they are planning to replace the ceiling tiles,” reported Bebleh. “Hopefully, they will be soundproof tiles.”
Despite the overwhelming babble that arguably discouraged a number of guests from returning, Turlock residents Cathy Alex Ovro have continued visiting the bingo hall for the popular game.
“This is the only bingo hall in Turlock and we like playing bingo,” explained Alex Ovro. “We also like to support our own community.”
“The volunteers are also very friendly if we ever need help,” added Cathy Ovro.
Word of bingo’s return to Turlock also proved to have extended beyond city limits, as Los Banos resident Anthony Casillas traveled to Turlock just to play the game with his grandparents for the second time.
“This has been fun, and it’s a great way to just chill,” said Casillas. “It’s also a hobby of mine.”
Bebleh hopes that the temporary lull in attendance proves to be just that—temporary.
With an estimated $5,000 worth of prizes paid out every night, the chairman was dispirited to report that the game has not raised any money so far.
“We have to have at least 150 people every night to just break even,” said Bebleh. “That is just covering the prizes—it does not include rent or supplies.”
Once the bingo hall begins to raise attendance numbers and money, Bebleh plans to use funds to benefit local schools and children’s hospitals—the specificity of which will be decided when the game becomes profitable.
Eagle Pride Bingo is held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the E-5 building of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 4 p.m. and games start at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 573-3195 or 605-8418.