Carp Drive-in Bingo Was A Big Success Again

By Ben Hamill - August 05 2015

Carp Drive-in Bingo

The annual Carp Drive-in Bingo took place over five Wednesdays in July. The Carp Drive-in Bingo is part of the Carp Fair in Ottawa, billed as Canada's best fair. Carp Drive-in Bingo is more about friendship and community than it is specifically about bingo. You might say that bingo is the conduit for a pleasant night of socializing. As long as the socializing doesn't get in the way of daubing!

Get Ready, Get Set…

So, most people come early to set up lawn chairs in big friendly circles, buy a snack or sandwich at the canteen, and pie, and prepare for a long evening of bingo.

Lip Smacking at No Extra Charge

Long-time Drive-in Bingo fans tell us to buy the home-made pie at the canteen before the games begin. The pie is not reserved for bingo players, although there are rumours that a petition to that effect was passed around! So, if you wait until intermission there will be a good chance that there won't be any pie left. Valley women (men too, I suppose, but the real pie-making expertise still lies with the female citizens of Canada) make sensational pie, filled to exploding with fruit. If you eat whilst you play, take care to not spill a dab of fruit on your bingo card. More than one embarrassed bingo player has mistaken a dab for a daub and called bingo when they didn't have so much as a bing!

The Fair is Older than the Dominion

The proceeds from Drive-in Bingo go to helping keep the Carp Fair going from year to year. The Carp Fair is not a big, luxurious extravaganza. It is us putting on a show for ourselves, our guests, and our visitors. This is why I spend so much time talking about charitable bingo. We need to look to ourselves to secure a bountiful future and if we can use one of our minor diversions to further the cause, we should certainly grab the chance.

The theme of this year's Carp Fair is "proud of our past; focused on our future". The Carp fair itself began in 1863 so it has a lot of past to be proud of. When we look at our society in light of "our past" and "our future" it makes me understand, as though I didn't understand this before, that bingo is nothing more than an entertainment and a diversion from the things that matter most.

Low-cost Fun

To play Carp Drive-in Bingo you buy twelve bingo cards, each of which contains nine games, plus a jackpot bingo card. At $10 for all that, you are definitely getting your money's worth!


It's an outdoor event, at night, at the height of the summer, in Canada, and still we see people slapping away the bugs. If you remember to bring daubers for your bingo cards bring dauber as well (bug spray) for your skin! Also be a good neighbor and bring strong jumper cables because inevitably someone leaves the lights on or the radio on (or both) and all of a sudden the music begins to falter and dieeeeee.

Kids Wearing their Sunday Finest

There is a sure-fire, creative, Canadian way to get pajamas on sleeping kids without waking them up. We don't! People at their first Carp Drive-in Bingo night often comment on the large number of little ones roaming the grounds and that they are all wearing pajamas outdoors in public (gasp)! Their parents know a late night at the Carp Fair need not be a late night at home getting them into bed.

Super Caller has Found his True Calling

As always, Agriculture Minister Bruce Hill did the bingo calling. It is his responsibility to make sure that even in the far reaches of the parking area daubers can hear which number to daub. Minister Hill calls each number twice, in his clear baritone. He also reminds players which colour card they are playing and which pattern they are looking to complete. Mr. Hill calls the bingo numbers over a loudspeaker that can project over hundreds of meters. You may ask, as I did, how winners call out "bingo". Well, the way to "call bingo" is to honk your horn as loudly as you can!

Popular Councilman Eli El-Chantiry provided Bar-B-Que.

Rain Turns into Rainbows

This year's Carp Drive-in Bingo seemed doomed to being rained out every week. In the end, the games were held and those lucky souls who braved the weather saw numerous double rainbows!

Fun for the Whole Family

The Carp Fair is far more than just a once a week outdoor bingo event. The entire family can have a great time with live music, displays, carnival rides, fast food, and much more. Summer is only at the halfway mark so, if you're in the neighborhood, come to the Carp Fair.