by Vicki Ikeogu
The ultimate prize might not have been a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But for the hundreds of participants in Sartell’s first city-wide scavenger hunt, a family getaway to Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria was just what the leprechaun ordered.
Coinciding with the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series’ Pot O’ Gold 5K run, the Sartell Hospitality and Visitor Service, Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing PLLP and Country Financial sent racers around the city in a quest for answers.
“The primary responsibility of HVS is to bring visitors to Sartell and help ensure they spend money in the area,” said Nikki Sweeter, Sartell’s HVS executive director.
Sweeter said around January, officials from Country Financial, a major sponsor of the Pot O’ Gold 5K run, had approached HVS about the possibility of doing a scavenger hunt to encourage race participants to explore – and possibly visit – local Sartell businesses.
“(Country Financial) said they would sponsor it, but we would have to run with it,” Sweeter said.
Working with St. Cloud-based digital marketing firm DAYTA Marketing, Sweeter said HVS developed a text messaging service that would help participants access the clues that would send participants to seven Sartell businesses – Bella Soleil Tanning Spa, Cornerstone Buffet & Restaurant, Edgewood Senior Living, Kwik Trip, Liquid Assets, Stā-Fit and Upper Deck Sports Bar & Grill.
“Some clues were geared more toward adults,” Sweeter said. “While each stop did have kid-friendly ‘on-site’ clues where they may need to count something or find something inside the business, we really wanted to capitalize on the people coming to Sartell for the run. We wanted to showcase our city.”
Each team that participated in the free event received a goodie bag filled with St. Patrick’s Day items. And all teams that completed the scavenger hunt were entered into a drawing for prizes including the Arrowwood Resort getaway.
“We had tons of prizes,” Sweeter said, “watches from J.F. Kruse Jewelers, golfing, tanning, bowling passes. We really tried to mix it up with the prizes.”
In addition to the scavenger hunt that kicked off after the 5K race, HVS along with Country Financial, local Girl Scout troops, CDS, Bernick’s and the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA transformed the gym at Pine Meadow Elementary School (the start of the race) into a kid-friendly activity zone.
“We have wacky hair and face painting,” Sweeter said, “and inflatable bowling and an obstacle course. We have a lot of young families in Sartell and this gives everybody something fun to do.”
Sweeter said she hopes to build on the success of this year’s scavenger hunt and kid’s activities for future St. Patrick’s Day races.
“The plan is to grow it,” she said. “We really want to make a St. Patrick’s Day festival with possibly a parade and other family fun things. We want to give the community something to do in the winter and keep our area lively as we move into spring.”
Vicki Ikeogu is a local freelance reporter from St. Cloud. Ikeogu is a 2015 mass communications graduate from St. Cloud State University. Ikeogu was previously the business reporter at the St. Cloud Times. She currently works as a transportation planner for the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.