If you haven’t noticed, it’s become a huge trend nowadays to make everything natural. Organic, even.

There are some things you might never have imagined would have a natural alternative. But then all of sudden, bam, there it is staring you in the face and daring you to ignore it.

Such is the case with cow patty bingo, being brought to Portland this weekend by the creative volunteer parents at Casco Bay High School.

In ordinary bingo, folks buy a card and hope the number picked by the game’s host happens to fill up the right spot on the card. If so, bingo, they’re a winner.

Instead of a card, people who play cow patty bingo will pay $10 to buy the “deed” to a 2-foot-square section of the make-shift cow pasture in front of the high school on Allen Avenue. The pasture will be marked out in a grid pattern (sort of like a giant bingo card), and every square will be labeled so people will know exactly which plot they are buying.

Then everyone will wait for two cows to hopefully plop the winning patty down on their plot of land. The winner gets $200, or 15 percent of the total sales.

The event is a fundraiser for Casco Bay High School’s Project Graduation. Project Graduation is a national program promoting “healthy” alternative graduation celebrations.

In Casco Bay High’s case, the parents are raising money so the kids can go on an overnight trip to a “mystery” destination. They picked cow patty bingo as one of their fundraisers because they thought it would be fun and different.

“It’s real popular as a fundraiser in the Midwest, and as far as we can tell, it hadn’t been done in Portland yet,” said Malory Shaughnessy, parent of a senior at the school and coordinator of the event. “It’s something unusual, which we thought would make it more fun.”

People don’t have to buy a plot. Spectators are welcome to just watch the cows and enjoy the fresh air (fresh, at least, until the patties start a-droppin’). Or root for friends to become the winning plot owners.

There will be baked goods for sale, and lemonade and milk from Oakhurst will be available for a suggested donation to the cause.

Also, student musicians from the school will play “bluegrassy rock” for the crowd’s enjoyment, Shaughnessy said.

As for the bingo game itself, Shaughnessy said the cows will be well-fed beforehand, so she doesn’t expect it to take more than 30 minutes to an hour for a winner to be determined.

Because, as everybody knows, a cow’s got to go sometime.

You can bet on it.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]