Tuesday, October 7, 2014

World Record! Part 2

On Saturday afternoon, September 12th we drove to Provo to participate in "Passport to Provo", an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest scavenger hunt...ever! The old record was set by the University of Chicago in 2011 at 924 participants. There had been plenty of publicity leading up to the big day. Brittany nervously watched the sign-up numbers climb as the weeks went by. A day or so before the event there were over 1,000 people signed up. They would all need to come that day AND complete the scavenger hunt to break the record. Then, with TV appearances, radio spots, and a huge announcement to over 60,000 fans at the BYU football game the previous Saturday, the website showed ever increasing numbers. Brittany and her co-workers were happy to see that on the night of September 11th nearly 3,000 participants had registered! Oh, how this family had prayed for the event to be a big success! It was a Thank You party for the community. The budget was large, and there was no profit to be made. For Miss Event Planner's mind to be at ease it had to succeed!

When we arrived, we had pre-registered and Dee had picked up our packet the day before so we got to go through an express check-in. I am so glad because for a community that runs on Mormon Standard Time, everyone showed up within 30 minutes of start time. There were literally thousands of people! It thrilled my heart to see the turn-out and know how relieved our girl must be! There were SO many people, in fact, that the start time had to be put back to 1:30 instead of 1:00. Each team was given a map, a list of rules, and a Passport booklet full of tasks to complete. We were also given wrist bands. It was so well organized! They shuttled us up one escalator to the 3rd floor of the Utah Valley Convention Center to check in. Then we were sent down another set of escalators and had to pass by the official representative from Guinness. She literally counted each person with a handheld clicker! We all went outside to await the start. While we waited we planned out our first few tasks.We had to look for a dolphin and talk like a dolphin to the Google Fiber volunteer who, in turn, stamped our passport. That one was easy! The building across the street has an underwater mural with dolphins on it. At the starting signal given by Mayor Curtis everyone took off. The poor volunteer was literally bombarded by "Flipper" voices. It was kind of hilarious!

As we headed north to our next task I was overwhelmed by what I saw. There were hundreds of people of all ages running, biking, scooter-ing, carpooling, and skate boarding to get around. All were excited and having a great time! The tasks were divided up into categories. To quote the event website:

Downtown Culture – Tasks in this category will include searching for nostalgic items downtown, wall murals and paintings, Covey Center for the arts, getting to know your heritage, and more!

Quirky and Fun – This category will include fun, off-the-wall tasks like taking pictures at Provo landmarks, perform on stage, talk to animals, bust a move, or look for the Provo Sasquatch!

Outdoor and Adventure – Get ready to explore the outdoors! Tasks in this category include playing games, getting a little wet, playing at the park, riding a bike, etc..

Local Business – Check out downtown Provo’s businesses and explore our restaurants and shops. This category will give you the opportunity to sample some food, learn about fiber, read a book, and more!

We did things like lip-synching onstage at Velour, a local club (I play a mean air guitar!).
We picked up trash at North Park, and while there Richard slid down a slide while saying "Weeeee!" (B's personal favorite task). We explored paintings at a downtown art gallery looking for a fish, posed for a passport photo at Allen's Camera. Sampled yummy food at little restaurants I never knew were there, posed by a Provo firetruck, sampled a new drink mix at Sodalicious and suggested names for it, and petted puppies up for adoption at Pioneer Park. While there we frolicked through the splash pad (the volunteer insisted upon frolicking as that is how the task was worded!)

A few things I was really impressed with were hearing the number of people saying what I myself was thinking, "I never knew this was here. I'm coming back for sure!" The community service tasks were awesome. We bought a can of food at a local grocer and donated it to the Food Bank, we looked at the United Way booth and learned how we could volunteer, and the Red Cross had a sign-up for blood donations.

We survived our hunt in the heat of the day and returned to the convention center where we went through a line and one-at-a-time had our wrist bands cut of and placed in a large container. Our passports were checked for all of the appropriate number of stamps in each category and then we could go into a large room and gather up free stuff for participating. The most popular items were this Provo Rocks t-shirt featuring Provo's own Ryan Innes from TV's "The Voice".

Everyone got a cool Google Fiber shirt featuring Provo's "Silcone Slopes" too!

Dee got to help count the wrist bands. The lady in the white shirt was our official Guinness judge. She wouldn't share with the others how many she counted in her group, to keep it a secret until the announcement.

As a family we pitched in and helped pass out the t-shirts as volunteers for the rest of the afternoon. People were floored that they got 2 shirts, "Really? We just came out for the record and to have fun!" It was a nice way to end the afternoon. Everyone was invited back to the "After Party" that night featuring  Ryan Innes, BBoy Federation, & local DJ "Skratchmo. 

And did we break the record? You had better believe it! The old record was 924 and Provo produced 2079 participants who finished the hunt! WAHOO!!!

The Mayor let Brittany's boss know that he has never seen such an impact-ful event or gathering EVER in downtown. He still hears from businesses saying how their traffic has increased and how good it was for downtown in general. The United Way had a record number of volunteers sign up and guess what? Most of them showed up on their volunteer days. Everyone wants to do it again next year to which Britt and her team might reply, "We need about a week's worth of sleep...then, maybe!"

Below is a link to the official video which shows some of the tasks I described and many that I didn't. A lot of the tasks involved posting a photo of your group doing the task on Instagram with the hashtag #passporttoprovo. It is so fun to search that hashtag on IG and just see all of the fun people were having!

Click on this link! It gave us all goosebumps and made Brittany cry! 

I wondered what Allen's Camera and Sound might do with all of those passport photos they took that day. You can stop by their downtown shop and see a huge 40 x 60 poster in their window. We have yet to find ourselves! Somewhere in the blue...
We are so proud of the Google Fiber team for their hard work and for giving back to the community that has treated them well.
 Good job everyone!!

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

That is so awesome! I am so proud of Brit and her team. I bet it was so fun and such a great way to get the community out and involved and really come together. I just love that I'm related to all these amazing event planners!