MOUNT PLEASANT TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – The Calumet Volunteer Fire Department in Westmoreland County has decided to cancel a big fundraising event it had scheduled later this month.
The event was billed as a “Sparkling Queens of Drag Bingo” night set for July 20.
A similar Calumet drag queen fundraiser earlier this year raised about $10,000.
But, fire department officials say they had no choice but to cancel the event because they sold only about 60 tickets. They had hoped to sell 300 by now.
“We can’t afford to hold a fundraising event where you lose money,” Robin Obarto, the Calumet Fire Department secretary, told KDKA News. “Our goal is to make money. We need money to keep us operational.”
A group of seven pastors from churches in the Mount Pleasant Township area sent out a letter in March saying in part:
“This event encourages the touching, fondling, and groping of patrons dressed in drag.”
The drag queen bingo game organizers say the volunteer fire department is now the loser.
Jeffrey Kaczynski, of the Sparkling Queens of Drag, said: “All of our events are sellouts, and we’ve been together for over a year. And, I’m proud to say we’ve raised over $180,000 for local fire departments, and local organizations.”
He added, “Every fire department that has had us, maybe two days later, I get a call from them saying how amazing we were, how professional we were, and how much money they raised.”