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Sea Island

Bingo


Time travel through our traditions.

Rattling the sack for more than 50 years!


“Rattle the Sack,” three of the most famous words in Sea Island’s history, signals that the second tradition we are highlighting is bingo.

Bingo first started at Sea Island more than 50 years ago, making it one of our longest and most cherished traditions. Decked out in their finest outfits for the lively event, everyone gathers and anxiously waits for the lights to drop, the music to strike, and the spotlight to signal the start of the show.

Hosted by Ringo Bingo—who took over emcee duties in 2015 from the legendary Billy Bingo after his 25-year run–the evening plays out as equal parts game and game show. It doesn’t take long before even newcomers pick up phrases like “Clickety Click, O-66” and “Rattle the Sack.”

And don’t worry, we understand if you are feeling the need to quack like a duck.

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"B-4 and After."

Billy Bingo

Jack Jenkins, the legend also known as Billy Bingo, joined the resort crew and infused a bit of Las Vegas glitz into bingo in 1989. Players counted on Jenkins for an outrageously entertaining opening number which featured him dressed as Elvis Presley, Uncle Sam, Rocky, or Tim McGraw, among others, and an evening brimming with spirited competition and lots of audience participation. He called out each number with great panache, using fun nicknames and silly accents to identify some of the bingo balls, which you’ll still hear today.

Ringo Bingo

Keenan Carter, also known as Ringo Bingo, began his apprenticeship for Sea Island Bingo during the summer of 2015 and was thrilled to work alongside and be the protégé of the amazing Billy Bingo. According to Ringo, “Being asked to join the Sea Island family and continue the legacy of Sea Island Bingo, with its rich history, was almost too good to be true.” He is looking forward to adding some new “Bingo Lingo” when we are all able to once again hunt for “A Couple of Nickels.”

 

 

What's In a Night?

Bingo is filled with feel-good fun, philanthropy, and fanfare.

The evening consists of six games with each one becoming more interesting and challenging than the last. These games include the best and worst card of the house, guests filling their top and bottom rows, a picture frame pattern, all four corners, or a card blackout. Players who call bingo by mistake, referred to as a “bungo,” can expect plenty of friendly chiding from the audience, followed by a steep, humiliating fine of $1. A few lucky guests will collect jackpots ranging from $50 to $750, and the proceeds benefit local charities. During the last game, cookies and ice-cold milk are served, and when the games are over, a disc jockey fires up the music and guests hit the ballroom floor for line dancing.

1 of 7

Be in the know with Bingo Lingo.


Bingo at The Cloister has its own language and cues for audience participation. Thinking about trying your hand at a game? Here’s a cheat sheet with some of the ball code names and their associated responses.

Memories Made.

Donna

Our fabulous Thanksgiving vacation at Sea Island was one to remember… from the amazing resort, pools, homes and activities. One of our favorite activities not to miss was Bingo! We did not win that night so my hope is that we will be lucky this time around… and be able to return for another wonderful adventure!

William

One of the strongest memories I have at Sea Island was bingo night in the Clubroom. This was back in the day when gentlemen wore tuxedos to club functions and their ladies were dressed to the nines in appropriate evening wear, including cocktail dresses and jewelry. Bingo night was always packed with families. It was pure theater enjoyed by all. The last card played was full coverage and the winner received the largest cash award, approximately $200. Keep in mind, the time period was the late 50s and early 60s. Card checker was a person named Calvin and he was always called to check cards for false bingos. That night my father was not paying attention as he should have been. My mother was playing her card as well as my Dad’s. My dad won, “Bingo!”

Denise

We loved the whole Sea Island experience. We came for our 30th wedding anniversary. What an amazing resort and experience. So much fun with so many great options of things to do. One of our favorites was bingo night. We laughed so much. Truly an enjoyable night for all ages.  We were not sure what to expect but decided to try it and sure was glad we did. Can’t wait for a return visit.

Christy

My parents drove my two brothers and me (in the picture on our bikes) every summer from Dallas, TX to Sea Island, GA. 43 years later my husband and I make the drive from Alexandria, VA with our four kids. Why? It’s simple, there’s no place like Sea Island. It’s changed a lot over the years but it has never lost that special family feeling. It’s a place where bike rides, BINGO, yummy Beach Club burgers, pool fun, and relaxing under a beach umbrella are all part of daily life. My kids love Sea Island, too. I have many memories including those of my Sea Island wedding but one that stands out is when my older brother and I won back to back bingos and how the “rowdy” Sea Island crowd actually booed me but in the nicest, polite Sea Island way.

Catherine

For the first 25 years of my life, June 16th was my favorite day. This is the day our Sea Island vacation began. The next two weeks would be the best of my summer, most of which were spent in Cottages 29 and 30 on 8th Street. The entire clan would spend two weeks swimming, biking, crabbing, and charging goldbrick sundaes to their magic Sea Island number. (Ask anyone in my family and we can still recite our charge numbers.) We loved Jeep Train rides, finding shells at the end of the Island, and chip and putt. We were such a large group that there would often be multiple members of the family that won bingo in the same night. These summers and the memories (that are too numerous to count) we share are treasured by all of us.

Lesley

My family has been visiting Sea Island annually since 1983. My grandfather started the tradition, a retreat for our entire family including my great grandmother at the time, and we’ve been here every year since – and now I bring my own kids, four generations beyond the eldest from our original group. It is a “Do Not Miss” family week, with countless memories that live – Jeep Train rides, bingo wins, the swing, fishing contests, boat rides, sunsets, days spent at Camp Cloister, nights spent in the formal Dining Room with five-course-meals every night, more buffets than I can count, afternoons spent gathered – every generation – in the pool, and so many more. Thank you Sea Island for bringing our family so much joy and laughter!

Call out your favorite bingo memory!


We have heard from many of you that your favorite memory of Sea Island was winning your first Bingo, seeing Billy Bingo dressed as Elvis or Rocky or line dancing after the final card. If you haven’t shared yours, let’s make it official!

Share Your Story

Let's be Social! Social Media, that is.

Join us on Instagram as we further celebrate this lively tradition. Relive your favorite Sea Island moments with our virtual bingo card today. We love seeing so many recreate the Sea Island Bingo experience at home. Be sure to tag us with #seaisland for a chance to be shared. And don't call a "bungo!"

Be Social from Afar

Tavola Bolognese

Tavola practically bubbles with excitement on bingo night.

Serves 8–10

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, minced
2 onions, small dice
6 large carrots, minced
1 pound celery, trimmed and minced
1 pound garlic, minced (about 6 heads)
2 pounds ground pork
2 pounds ground veal
2 pounds ground beef
6 tablespoons white wine
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups tomato purée
Salt and pepper to taste

View Instructions

  1. Preheat a heavy-bottomed stockpot on medium heat for 2 minutes. (Having the pot very hot is crucial for the browning of the meat.) Add olive oil and, after a minute, add pancetta. Brown quickly and evenly. Add onions and cook; stir frequently to allow onions to caramelize evenly. Add carrots and celery, and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 45 seconds.
  2. Add all ground meats and stir thoroughly. Continue to heat and stir until meat begins to brown. Cook 20 to 30 minutes. Meat should begin to simmer, and become brown and crispy. Scrape and stir as needed. If beef begins to stick too much on the bottom, slightly reduce heat and stir vigorously to avoid burning. Season meat thoroughly while browning evenly.
  3. Add white wine and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and stir well. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes on low. Stir frequently and do not allow meat to stick to the bottom of stockpot. Stir in tomato paste and tomato purée. Season again.
  4. Simmer sauce on low heat for 1 hour. Stir frequently. You are looking for a soft, supple, and creamy-looking sauce. You may need to add a little water from time to time if sauce appears too dry. (If it resembles Texas chili, it’s too dry.) Adjust seasoning, set aside and keep warm until needed. Serve over pappardelle.

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Connecting for more than 90 years.

A look back at last week's tradition.

There is something magical about Sea Island, in that folks who visit become family with us and each other. Throughout our history, we have stayed connected with our Sea Island family through publications, first in the 1930s with Cloister Bells, later with ShoreLines, and now with Sea Island Life. Discover a selection of our favorite stories from the Spring/Summer issue of Sea Island Life and our most requested recipe.

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A Couple of Ducks.

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