Skellefteå's car bingo delight

It's a perfectly balmy July evening. The sun hangs low over the sprawling expanse of Bergsbyn, where cars are lined up like soldiers at attention. The only sound is the clear, commanding voice of the bingo caller. "I come here year-round to play," says 82-year-old Anita Holmbom from Luleå.

Siv Berglund and Jonas Lundmark like the excitement.

Siv Berglund and Jonas Lundmark like the excitement.

Foto: Karin Israelsson

Bergsbyn2023-08-18 15:20

The clock has ticked past seven in the evening and we are at Bergsvallen IP. The host, Skellefteå Boulekraft IF, has set up shop here. For the fourth year in a row, they've turned the place into a bingo haven. Anita Holmbom has parked her car right in front, near the announcer's desk. Every Wednesday during the summer, rain or shine, she drives from Luleå to Skellefteå to play bingo.

Siv Berglund and Jonas Lundmark like the excitement.

But here's the twist: she also engages in bingo during the winter – in Skellefteå, albeit indoors.

– It's my pleasure, and I've got nothing else going on, so I drive here to play bingo, she says with a cheerful grin.

Space is a premium between the cars, and the conclusion that bingo on wheels is a hit is no exaggeration.

– We're the only ones doing this in Skellefteå right now, and it's catching on, confirms Gun-Britt Jansson, chairperson of Skellefteå Boulekraft.

She adds that the interest in both bingo and car bingo remains steady. July typically sees a surge in participants, with the summertime attracting youth and even tourists to join in.

The bingo field was packed with cars.

Word has it that some folks drive many kilometers to a variety of towns just for a game of car bingo. The allure of cash prizes surely plays a part, but the bingo event itself is likely to be the main attraction.

Siv Berglund and Jonas Lundmark sit on a bench. Nestled in the middle of the bench is a large horn – they sound it when either of them accumulates a full house.

Those in their cars honk their horns when they rack up a full house. Then it's up to the spotters, stationed at irregular intervals, to track down the winner, or winners if luck strikes multiple times.

Åse Nyström and Åsa Nordin: "We've been playing bingo since childhood," says Åsa.

Siv Berglund is a returning bingo player. She used to play about fifty years back.

– This year is the first time I've played since then, she says.

Jonas Lundmark has prior experience in arranging bingo events.

Both find it a pleasant pastime, with an added thrill factor.

Controller Karl-Gösta Öberg taking a break.

This phenomenon – let's call it car bingo – can also be found in other cities, such as Luleå, Umeå, and Robertsfors, says Gun-Britt Jansson, the assocation's chairperson.

Why did you decide to organize bingo?

– Some of our members are bingo enthusiasts, and I play myself as well, says Gun-Britt.

Another reason is that it brings revenue to the association, which, of course, benefits the boule activities.

– We plan to keep this going as long as possible.

Chairperson Gun-Britt Jansson has snack bar duty this time.
Chairperson Gun-Britt Jansson has snack bar duty this time.