Trivia Bee moving to a new site – with beer, wine and food

Cortney Moore holds up joking retort after failing to guess the right answer to a question during the Trivia Bee in 2012.
Cortney Moore holds up joking retort after failing to guess the right answer to a question during the Trivia Bee in 2012. The Bellingham Herald file

Registration is open for contestants in the Whatcom Literacy Council’s Trivia Bee, a longtime Bellingham charity event that’s moving its location after several years.

A move to Bellingham Technical College from the Bellingham High School auditorium will allow the addition of food and alcohol service, said Katherine Freimund, executive director of the nonprofit group that focuses on improving literacy among adults – especially English as a second language.

It’s the 21st year for the Trivia Bee, which will be 7-9 p.m. April 21, at Settlemyer Hall in the Campus Center building at 3028 Lindbergh Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a silent auction. Tickets at $15, or $5 for children younger than 12, will be available at the door or in advance at Village Books.

“(Settlemyer Hall) holds the same amount of people, but everything will be in one place,” Freimund said. She hopes the addition of beer and wine, plus coffee and food and snacks such as pizza and cookies, will generate an even more festive atmosphere for the event, which mimics “Jeopardy!” the popular television game show.

Food and soft drinks have been offered in previous years at Bellingham High, but they couldn’t be brought inside the auditorium, and alcoholic beverages couldn’t be served on a high school campus.

It’s usually a standing-room-only event, on the raucous side but still family-friendly, hosted by local KAFE-FM deejay Scotty VanDryver and Ken Jennings of Edmonds. Jennings holds the longest winning streak on “Jeopardy!”

“They both have that same dry sense of humor,” Freimund said.

For the event, three-member teams are seated at tables onstage and discuss the answers among themselves, which teams write on a whiteboard. After four elimination rounds, there’s a winner.

Contestants can register for $750 for a corporate team or $375 for a “self-sponsored” team, Freimund said. Often, free team spots are reserved for high school students or those who want to participate but are dissuaded by the entry fee.

“If people want to participate, but they can’t afford it, they should let us know,” Freimund said.

Register by emailing events@whatcomliteracy.org or by calling 360-752-8678. Its website is whatcomliteracy.org.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty