Mandarins Drive-In Bingo

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (Courtesy of KTXL Fox40 News)

You may never find as many people excited about sitting in their cars in a parking lot, ready to honk their horns, as you’ll find at Sacramento Mandarins Drive-in Bingo.

Since 1963, the Sacramento Mandarins nonprofit has helped kids get into music.

A year ago the organization bought a fancy new home with a hefty mortgage.

Then the pandemic hit and the bingo fundraiser they relied on wasn’t allowed inside anymore. So, it moved outside. Starting last August, drive-in bingo has exploded in popularity there.

“Oh, it means a lot to us. Me and my mom get to spend time together. Of course, we are still social -distancing; she’s in the back, I’m in the front,” said bingo player Danielle Lokey.

Wednesday it sold out — 120 cars with players listening on their radios and following along on Zoom.

“All of the players are safe in their cars, they’re all masked, we can go out and we can tell them when they get a bingo —  they actually lay on their horns because they are so excited about it,” said Sacramento Mandarins President and CEO Jim Tabuchi.

The Sacramento Mandarins went from a tough financial spot to one of the hottest tickets in town.

“In the beginning, it was a little slow. Just like any place kinda slow, and then people start coming more and more and more and it’s full,” said bingo player Kenneth Novak.

Mandarins Bingo offers three sessions every week. Get more information and buy online tickets here.

See KTXL’s video coverage of Mandarins Bingo, here.

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