Staff Report

After approximately 30 years, Alpha Pi sorority has turned over its annual Turkey Bingo event, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17, to Solvang Arts and Music Foundation (SAM) and the Solvang School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

“We are happy to find an organization that will continue the tradition of over 100 years of Turkey Bingo,” said Alpha Pi President Pam Johnsen. “We are happy to ‘pass it on,’ as it was to us.”

The event was begun in 1913 by the Hejls Minde 23 Chapter of the Danish Society of Dania of California and Nevada. The wives of the Dania men started the Danish Ladies Society, Dannebrog of Dania, and took over the event in 1937. The Alpha Pi sorority then took over in the late 1980s and has run the event since.

There are no more live turkeys, as there were in the days at Dania Hall, which stood on the site of the current Petro’s Cafe in Solvang. But hundreds of people still flock to the event in hopes of winning a frozen bird for Thanksgiving dinner.

Though Turkey Bingo hasn’t changed much since its inception, there will be some changes this year, some of which were in the works before the event was transitioned to the two Solvang School organizations.

“We have tried to maintain the event as it has been for these many years. Keeping the cost the same and the same format. We struggled with the idea of change, but realized if we were to continue, there would have to be changes,” Johnsen added.

The biggest change for participants will be the shift from dimes to a flat rate per bingo card. First cards will cost $10 for adults and $6 for children 13 and under for all 60 games. Additional cards will cost $5. Extra cards can be purchased throughout the event and can still be swapped for another as players desire, but admission into the event will require the purchase of a first card. Seat-saving will also be strictly prohibited.

SAM and PTO will also hold a raffle throughout the event with prizes focused on food and family fun for the holidays.

Though Alpha Pi will no longer be hosting the event, the organization is hopeful for its continued success.

“Our hope was that it would continue as a family event. We especially loved it when kids were the winners. We have many members who grew up with this event and have fond memories of it. We have watched the same families come year after year,” Johnsen said.

Food will be available for purchase, and those attending are once again being asked not to bring alcohol to the family event.

Turkey Bingo will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, with doors opening at 5 p.m., at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall. For questions or to donate an item for the raffle, email