PLDL holds scavenger hunt, connects patrons to the area

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Kate Desrochers, center, checks off an item on the Portage Lake District Library's scavenger hunt list Saturday. Looking on are from left, Elizabeth Bergstrom, Elizabeth Desrochers and Rachel Bergstrom.

HOUGHTON — Throughout downtown Houghton, teams of people were flapping their wings, posing like trees or making a snow angel in the grass.

The occasion was the Portage Lake District Library’s first downtown scavenger hunt, which lasted for two hours Saturday morning.

There were about 60 items — more than a team could do in the allotted time, said MaryFran Desrochers, vice president of the Friends of the Portage Lake District Library.

Points were awarded for each entry, divided into 50 points (“Take a picture of the team in the largest dog house in Houghton”), 20 (“A photo of the location of the PLDL before it was where it is today”) and 10 (“A photo of your team singing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ on a street corner”).

Because it’s a first-time event, they were hoping for about 10 teams to register. They got 17.

“It is our goal to do a similar event next year,” Desrochers said. “We already have ideas about how to change it up a little bit.”

There were also business-sponsored clues meant to draw attention to the business sponsors for the event. Between the $825 in business sponsorships and other items, the library made about 10 percent of its annual community programs budget through the event.

For some of the clues, what seemed difficult at first could be met with some clever thinking. The 20-point clue “A photo of the entire team with a wild animal” could involve tracking down a chipmunk — or a team could pose in front of a stuffed animal in the window of Swift’s Hardware.

“It doesn’t specify a live wild animal,” she said.

Desrochers said the clues were also intended to build community, such as “a photo of a man with a beard shaking hands with one of your team members” (20 points) or “a photo of someone doing something nice for someone not on your team” (20 points).

“It might just be holding a door open, or putting groceries in the car, or helping somebody like that,” she said. “Just a good event for people of all ages.”

Midway through the hunt, Maddie Minerick of Houghton, Kiska Deering on Hancock and Logan McMillan of Port Huron, Michigan, were taking a photo in front of the Print Shop.

“It’s neat,” said McMillan, a Michigan Technological University student. “I’m seeing stuff I haven’t seen before, which is ironic, because I’ve been here for three years.”