Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall was wall to wall with bingo players hoping to take home a turkey when Alpha Pi Charitable Organization staged Turkey Bingo for the 103rd year.

The organization gave away 60 turkeys to as many winners of bingo games, that cost 10 cents per card to play — the same price as when the event was launched in 1914 by the Danish Society of Dania of California and Nevada.

Winners also received a certificate good for all the fixings needed to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.

Organizers weren’t sure exactly how many people turned out for this year’s games on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“There were a lot of people there,” said Shirley Hernandez, an Alpha Pi member. “We can’t keep a count with so many people coming and going.”

But one new record was set at this year’s event: In one round, seven players held winning cards.

“We’ve never had that many winners at one time before,” Hernandez said. “Lots of young kids got bingos and won turkeys, so that was exciting.”

The Danish Ladies Aid took over Turkey Bingo in 1937 and operated the annual event until 1987.

During its early years, winners received live turkeys, geese and ducks tied up to their necks in burlap sacks, but these days winners receive dressed-out turkeys.

Hernandez said most of them were purchased by Alpha Pi, but some of the turkeys were also donated by El Rancho Market.

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