Churrigueresque, Kierkegaardian and götterdämmerung. Those are some of the words David Henry Haan had to spell correctly to earn a spot at the adult Williamsburg Spelling Bee final, which takes place Monday at 7:30 P.M. at Pete’s Candy Store. Haan will try to out-spell 15 other contestants.
Since February, eager adults have been spelling out words like quincunx, sthenic and myasthenia in contests that have taken place every two weeks. The top contenders in each contest won $15 bar tabs at Pete's Candy Store, free sandwiches from the bar and prizes from the competition’s sponsors, including copies of the Oxford English Dictionary and a set of the word game Bananagrams. Of course, they were all working towards the chance to compete in the finals for a large cash prize, gifts from sponsors, and the eternal glory of out-spelling everyone in the bee.
The Brooklyn singer songwriter bobby blue, who founded the Williamsburg Spelling Bee in 2004, will host the finals, alongside comedian Jennifer Dziura. Since its inception, the Williamsburg Spelling Bee has hosted over 150 rounds of competition. The spelling bee has even taken on a theme song and developed a strong following among letter-loving New Yorkers. Dziura said some contestants were flying to Brooklyn to compete, "having moved since qualifying or having been tourists in the first place."
There is no charge to enjoy Monday night's bee — except perhaps for the development of a spelling inferiority complex. For those looking to get in on the action, the Williamsburg Spelling Bee will return in January 2012 for a whole new season of obscure orthography and monthly competitions leading up to the finals.