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Jonesboro residents invited to games at old fire house

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

There are about two dozen people, who come to the museum at the old Fire House at 103 West Mill St., in Jonesboro every Thursday, to play games.

Some play "Trivial Pursuit," others engage in "Balderdash" or "Rook."

Some just sit near the fire truck and play "White Elephant Bingo," as the museum's curator, Katherine Smith, calls out numbers.

Nobody comes to "Game Night" to play for money. The idea is to let participants have some fun together.

"Game Night" is one way the volunteers at the museum are reaching their goal of making the venue into a place where the Jonesboro community can come together in fellowship. For example, in the bingo game, whenever a player gets "bingo," he or she gets to walk to an adjacent table and pick a prize that was donated by one of the other players in the game.

The old Jonesboro firehouse was re-opened in May as a memorial to the Jonesboro Volunteer Fire Department disbanded in 2005.

"The people play whatever they choose to play," Smith said. "We just wanted to have a place for citizens to come together and get to know each other. So far, it seems to be working well. We have new people coming all of the time."

Rook and bingo were the only games being played at the old fire house on Oct. 18. The people who play bingo must bring a gift that is worth at least $5. The gifts, such as measuring spoons, bowls and videos, are placed on a table near the contestants, and become the prizes for the winners.

Winners are allowed to choose which prize they will take home at the end of the night. The game continues until every prize has been won.

Lucy Yonce, mother of Jonesboro City Councilman Rick Yonce, has been coming to "Game Night" since the museum opened, and spends much of her time playing bingo. She tries to encourage other women to participate in the event.

"It's an interesting event," she said. "You feel like you're a part of the city."

Vicki Smith, daughter of curator Smith, was across the room with her brother, Joe, along with Chris Foster and Doris Cotton, playing "Rook," the card game. The younger Smith said while "Game Night" is open to any resident of Jonesboro, "most of them are in the grandparents age [range], she said. "We try to gear this towards that age group since there is so much for the young people to do."

Anyone who wants to participate in "Game Night" at the museum is asked to contact Katherine Smith, at (770) 478-0036. She can then plan for how many people to expect, and will know how much food to order for the event. The cost to eat at the museum on "Game Night" is roughly $4.