Sykesville wraps up its bingo month

Sykesville wraps up its bingo month
Bobby and Abigail Morris take a photo with Sykesville Officer Nick Betcher this summer for the town's new bingo game. (Courtesy photo)

Sykesville resident Stacie Morris and her two children, Abigail and Bobby, spent the past month riding the train, reading about local history and taking selfies with the police.

These are things they might have done anyway, having lived there for about 10 years, but this August there’s been more incentive since the town’s new summer game began: Sykesville Bingo.


“So it’s like a scavenger hunt mixed with a bingo,” said Sykesville Town Clerk Kerry Chaney this week. “Some of the spaces are: ‘take a picture of yourself at one of our parks,’ ‘take a picture with one of the police officers’ to help promote community policing, ‘visit one of the merchants or restaurants we have on Main Street.’

“Also, we have little free libraries around town that a lot of people didn’t know about before.”

Chaney is the one who came up with the idea for the townwide game, which began at the beginning of August and will run until Wednesday, Sept. 5.

“We were just trying to find a way to tell everybody about all of the wonderful little things in town that they might not have known about,” she said.

Participants have the chance to submit finished bingo cards to the Sykesville Town House by Wednesday, and a winner will be selected at the Sept. 10 Mayor and Town Council meeting to receive a gift card to use at any Main Street establishment.

The 2018 Sykesville Bingo card. Submissions will be accepted at the Town House until Sept. 5 and a random winner will be selected at the Sept. 10 Mayor and Town Council meeting.
The 2018 Sykesville Bingo card. Submissions will be accepted at the Town House until Sept. 5 and a random winner will be selected at the Sept. 10 Mayor and Town Council meeting. (Courtesy photo)

Sykesville Police Chief Michael Spaulding said it’s been a great way to celebrate the end of summer, although there haven’t been too many selfies with the police chief.

“We are more than happy to participate,” he said this week. “We’ve had a couple people come up to us to take selfies with them; it’s a great way to break the ice with people and get to know the residents.

“You see it all across the nation with some of the police ‘lip sync’ challenges and other ways,” he said, “just showing people that we are human, normal people with a job, and trying to break down the barriers. And to get people to be willing to approach us and ask to take a selfie with us for the game is a great way to get to meet people and get to know people, so I'm all for it.”

Spaulding said many of the requests for photos with members of the department came up during this year’s National Night Out.

That’s where the Morris family got their shots.

Morris said she and her kids usually wave and say hello to police officers when they pass them on the street, but that’s as far as their conversations have gone. This game has helped bridge the gap.

“It’s just nice to walk around and be able to thank them,” she said. “It gives the children a great chance to learn to respect them. They’re not scary, but you need to respect them.”

The Morris family started off their bingo card with a Mayor and Town Council meeting. Chaney signed off that block on the card, and they set off to complete the rest of the tasks.


“Then we visited a park, got to go on a slide and read one of the history signs [at the Town House],” she said.

To complete the bingo card, Morris and the kids rode the train.

“It gave us a chance to do things that we haven't done all summer,” said Morris, “like go on the train or go to the farmers market, or go to the playground and relax, and have a good time.”

She said she doesn’t know anyone else who has participated in the game this year, but the Morris family will definitely play again.

Sykesville Mayor Ian Shaw said he was happy to start the first of hopefully many years of the summer game, and said he was grateful to Chaney for introducing the idea.

“Kerry came up with the idea and we always appreciate staff being innovative, coming up with creative ideas to promote the town,” he said. “We are happy she did that. Hopefully it will be a success. These are the kinds of things, if you do them more than once, it will probably get even broader participation.”

He also said there is still time to get a selfie with the mayor before the game is over.

“I need a lot more selfies with the mayor!” he laughed.

Bingo cards can be found at the Sykesville Town House, at various shops on Main Street, and on the Town of Sykesville Facebook page for anyone interested in playing the game.

Cards can be submitted to the Town House at 7547 Main St. by Wednesday.