With the Scripps National Spelling Bee starting next week,Living Social provided a way for adults to experience the thrill of the competition Tuesday night.
For $5,participants in the Adult Spelling Bee Happy Hour received a complimentary draft beer,food specials and a chance to test their spelling skills against a couple of dozen others.
Bobby Brooks,27,a Washington security officer,hoped the beer would give him an advantage over the competition.
“Hopefully,everyone finishes their drinks before I do,and that’ll get everyone a little tossed up,” Brooks joked.
The first round of spelling had a fashion theme with words including boucle,epaulettes and jodhpurs.
It was the word beret,however,that sent Brooks back to his seat.
“I honestly thought I spelt it right! B-e-r-e-t?” Brooks said,unaware that he had replaced the first E with an A while on stage.
When it came to the final two contestants,it was Mollie Lemon,33,of Washington,a communications director at the Environmental Protection Agency,who proved to be victorious.
“I’ve been trying to do new things,and lately I’ve had a penchant for competitions,” Lemon said after winning. “I did a ping pong competition,then a rock-paper-scissors competition and so a spelling bee seemed like the obvious next step.”
Lemon said her win came as a big surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting it! I feel like I’m a decent speller,but it was a little tough there at the end,” she said.
Lauren Hengl,the head of 918F Street,where the bee was held,said the main idea behind the event is to put an adult spin on a fun,childhood memory.
“The thing that’s so appealing about spelling bees is no matter how old you are,it’s probably been some part of your upbringing,” Hengl said.
Hengl said nearly 800 people so far have purchased tickets to an Adult Spelling Bee Happy Hour,which will continue weekly through June.
Washington bookstore Politics and Prose is also holding its second annual spelling bee for adults,“So U Think U Can Spell,” on May 28. The event is free for anyone over the age of 18,and beer and wine will be served. Director of marketing Lacey Dunham said if turnout for the second bee is similar to the first,hopeful spellers may want to show up early.
“We had probably 150 people here. We had way more people sign up than we were able to accommodate as participants. We had to do a random drawing,” Dunham said.
Reach reporter Allen Henry at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.