Spelled out: Williamsburg’s adult spelling bee has final spell-check

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

They are getting in the final word.

The organizers of a popular Williamsburg spelling bee are calling it quits on April 4, after hosting a dozen years of adult spell-offs at Pete’s Candy Store. The brains behind the beloved letter-arranging competition says recreational spellers are still flocking to the face-off, but they are ready to break the spell.

“It’s just as popular as the first day,” said founder Bobby Blue. “It’s not only challenging, it’s riveting and it’s fun.”

Still, it has been a long run, and the bee has flown its course, said Blue’s competition partner.

“Twelve years is an incredibly long time to do anything,” said Jen Dziura.

Blue, a Ditmas Park resident who classifies himself as an “average speller,” created the spell-off in after watching the documentary “Spellbound,” about wiz kids competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Each monthly competition has given 15 adults a chance to live out their spelling dreams in a three-round bee with a beer in their hand.

The pair originally thought the event would simply bee a bunch of people getting drunk and trying their hand at an elementary school novelty, but they found that people got pretty serious about their spelling and were more focused on winning than their beers.

“There was an assumption that people would be a little more tipsy,” said Dziura, who lives in Park Slope. “But people who show up are pretty serious about winning.”

The talent pool usually consists of a mix of novice spellers and regulars, said Dziura, who frequently trips people up on words such as “aebleskiver” — Danish pancake puffs — and one of the words pronounced “fare-oh,” which can be spelled in four different ways.

Each bee winner receives a small prize, like a dictionary or candy. The closing clash on April 4 will also feature cake for all participants, and a live rendition of the spelling bee’s catchy theme song, sung by the hosts.

This might not be the end for the original spelling bee — which has become so famous that “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” once modeled a murder victim on Dziura. Blue said the pair might host a few one-off competitions, and he is looking to get celebrities like the brainy Emma Watson involved.

But even though he’s looking to the future, he is still s-a-d to leave the well-known bee behind.

“I’ll miss working with Jen, the camaraderie of the people, and the whole thing altogether,” said Blue. “I don’t think there’s anything I won’t miss.”

The final Williamsburg Spelling Bee at Pete’s Candy Store [709 Lorimer St. between Frost and Richardson streets in Williamsburg, (718) 302–3770,]. April 4 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 2:05 am, March 23, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Robret from Willamsberg says:
These poeple have dun an exellent job. Lief will be wurse withot there speling be.
March 23, 2016, 11:22 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: