Drag queen bingo a lively affair

Vashai Avionce in front of Happy Motoring hosting drag queen bingo on Wednesday.
Photo submitted by Jazzmin Riles

Nightlife for those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community is scarce in Tallahassee, but Happy Motoring offers a safe haven for members of this community.

“Happy Motoring is a renovated gas station that provides a neighborhood bar feel that has inclusive events such as drag queen bingo and in the future a drag queen brunch. We noticed a real lack of places in general for the LGBTQ+ to gather in Tallahassee,” said Amanda Morrison, co-partner of Happy Motoring, located at the intersection of FAMU Way and South Adams Street.

Drag queen bingo is a night of games, performances, and tasty dishes from local food trucks.  At each bingo night, all proceeds are donated to local charities.

The proceeds made by the bingo cards that were sold Wednesdsay are going to Big Bend Cares for its Holiday Angels program. The program is dedicated to giving back to families affected by HIV/AIDS.

Vashai Avionce, a local drag entertainer, hosts the monthly event held on the last Wednesday of the month at Happy Motoring. Da’Raiyah Amor is another local drag entertainer whoperforms at drag queen bingo. Avionce and Amor are part of the same drag family and often perform together.

“For this being the first time attending the event, it was enjoyable. Although I am not a part of the community, I feel as though there is a need for more representation for the LGBTQ+ in Tallahassee,” said Brittany Hannah, a Tallahassee native.

At the holiday edition and the final drag queen bingo for the year there was an ugly sweater theme for attendees due to the cold weather. As Christmas music played over the speakers, Street Chef, a local food truck served a variety of items.

Avionce was energetic and able to get the crowd to loosen up. She got everyone involved in the bingo game and dancing to music. She also performed to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

The winners of the bingo round received a free shirt or a cup holder and a free drink voucher to Happy Motoring.

“The atmosphere was inclusive and refreshing. I attend drag queen shows back home in Tampa and this event was something I have yet to experience in Tallahassee. There are not enough events for the LGBTQ community in Tallahassee. Having more events will allow for more people to feel welcome,” said My’Isha Vincent, a junior occupational therapy major.

Happy Motoring plans to host the next drag queen bingo in January,  weather permitting.