Jennifer, Christopher and 3-year-old Hayden Baldock pose inside a large frame at the Frame Factory as part of Largo’s Family Scavenger Hunt Feb. 8.
LARGO – Was it the chance to win $300, or the opportunity to spend a day with the family? Whatever the reason, 34 teams of people showed up at the Highland Recreation Complex on Feb. 8 for the inaugural Family Scavenger Hunt.
By the looks of the smiles on their faces after they finished, it was a successful event.
The rules were simple. Teams had to visit the designated 12 businesses in the city, get a ticket to show they were there, fulfill a photo challenge and get back to the recreation center as quickly as possible.
The winner would get $300, second place $200 and third place $100. Jennifer Baldock and her family, husband Christopher and 3-year-old son, Hayden, were quick off the mark and ultimately finished 22nd. They were out of the money, but that didn’t seem to matter.
“It was definitely fun, and a lot of the photos made us do silly things, (they) were a challenge,” she said. “At McGill Plumbing, we had to pose with plungers, so we put them on Daddy’s head. At East Bay Car Wash, we had to pose with dirty washcloths, and we washed Daddy’s face with them. He always gets the short end of the stick but he enjoyed it.”
Even though they finished 22nd out of 34 teams, Jennifer Baldock said the family will do it again next year and hopes it gets harder.
“Next year, they should involve more businesses,” she said. “That should make it harder. Everyone who took part today managed to get back in plenty of time, it was too easy.”
Some of the challenges weren’t so easy however. The UPS store in Largo required participants to burst every single bubble in a 12x12-inch piece of bubble wrap. You can bet the time it took to do that was an irritant to the teams who wanted to keep moving.
At the Frame Factory, team members – no matter how many – had to pose behind a large, family-sized frame. For some teams, that meant squeezing in rather tightly.
The Caswell family of Largo finished in 11th place. As they sat around at the post-hunt party eating hot dogs, they were already planning how they were going to approach next year’s event.
“We are a very competitive family. The Caswells are very competitive,” said the father, Randy. “Next year we are hoping to get a top-five finish.”
This year, he said it was all about the ebb and flow of getting it done.
“It wasn’t so bad once we got going,” he said. “We have to get the flow going. I had five navigators; once we decided on one navigator then it got going the right way.”
Largo recreation planner Christina Heubel was the brains behind the event. She said it was conceived as a way to bring the community together.
“It was to get local businesses involved in the community and have people visit those businesses and get to know them and what they do,” she said. “It gets people involved in their community in a fun and memorable way.”
The businesses involved agreed.
“It is a wonderful event,” said Mary Byrd, owner of the Frame Factory and Gallery. “The more people we can expose to the arts, the happier I’ll be. I’m extremely happy with this whole event. It is a lot of fun, and I hope they do it again next year, even twice a year.”
Byrd said the event was all part of what makes a community come together.
“We’ve been here for 40 years, since 1974. This is a win-win situation, I love to see things grow,” she said.
Over at McGill Plumbing, general manager Shane Wood was just as pleased with the scavenger hunt.
“I think it is a great idea,” he said. “I like it when the teams come in here, and they have to work together. It gets everyone involved in the community. We’ll definitely participate again next year.”
Rounding out the businesses, which participated in the event were: The BB&T Bank on East Bay, Dolcini’s Gelato, Golden Glow Medical Spa, Happy’s Home Centers, Main Street Chiropractic, Optical Factory & Showroom, Tijuana Flats and Topper’s Creamery.
Heubel said there would definitely be a second annual scavenger hunt, and it will likely expand to make it more difficult.
“We didn’t expect everyone back here as quickly as they did,” she said. “We are pleased with the way things went; everyone is happy. It was great; it was a lot of fun.”
The team names of the winners were: first place, The Shark Attack; second place, The Ninja Turtles and third place, 3 Ladies and a Man.