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Bingo raises funds for Benches For Our Babes

June 5, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

A Drag Queen Bingo fundraiser - something which has taken on a life of its own throughout the country - was held in North Fort Myers Friday to benefit Benches For Our Babes, a non-profit group dedicated to giving children a safe place to wait for the school bus by placing picnic tables there.

Victory Lane was packed was more than 150 raucous attendees who played a game they have played since childhood, though maybe never like this.

This is an adult-rated version of the game.

Article Photos

Christy Lee-Iwanow, organizer for Benches for Our Babes in North Fort Myers, speaks during Drag Queen Bingo at Victory lane in North Fort Myers. The event was to support Benches For Our Babes.


It started with the two stars, Natalie L. Carter and Nick D'Cuple, lip synching to Gretchen Wilson and Queen while getting tips as they danced.

Nick, whose non-stage name is Dominique Sierra, dressed as a biker in a beard for a company called All Heart Entertainment, a Cape Coral-based company that does benefits for 501 c 3 non-profit organizations in the area, with Victory Lane and Rockade being among the routine stops.

"Our company specializes in fundraisers; poker, casino nights and this. We've been doing this for about a year and have been in business for almost three," said Sierra, whose company does more than 50 such events per year. "We do non-profits in Lee County so the money doesn't go to California."

Christy Lee-Iwanow, the organizer for Benches For Our Babes in North Fort Myers, said after she saw how successful Drag Queen Bingo was, she wanted to get a fundraiser together in memory of Alana Tamplin, the 12-year-old girl from North Fort Myers who was fatally injured walking home from a school bus stop on Durrance Road in January.

"Not much has been done for her or for North Fort Myers Benches For Our Babes. Hopefully, we can get ahead and purchase more benches this summer, have more builds and delivering them to youth groups and daycares," Lee-Iwanow said.

Lee-Iwanow spoke at the North Fort Myers Civic Association meeting a few weeks ago, and got support from them at the event, with several members of the group sharing a table, cards and dabbers in hand.

"We wanted to support the project. They came to support us in May and they had this event tonight and we decided to come show our support," said North Fort Myers Civic Association President Doug Dailey.

They soon started playing the game, with numbers picked electronically on Nick's cellphone. The winner got a prize, a gift card and an opportunity to whip the host.

If there was a bad Bingo, which happened quite a bit on this night, the cheater was forced to do the "table dance of shame," in drag, collecting money that went to Benches For Our Babes.

Niki Fenske sat with the civic crowd and was among the winners.

She said she loved doing it for the great cause.

"Why not come out and show your support and have a good time while you're at it? I've never seen Bingo like this and I'm going to come back and play some more," Fenske said. "I had my favorite part but I can't say what it was."



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