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‘The Great Union County Scavenger Hunt’

Union County Historical Society's first sign locating one of the county's one-room schoolhouses stands three miles north of Shannon City. The sign, one of 103, was installed in December 2014. Debbie Bradley, historical society board member spearheaded the sign project.
Union County Historical Society's first sign locating one of the county's one-room schoolhouses stands three miles north of Shannon City. The sign, one of 103, was installed in December 2014. Debbie Bradley, historical society board member spearheaded the sign project.

After the Gibson Memorial Library’s annual wine walk fundraiser was canceled due to social-distancing guidelines issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds, its capital campaign committee voted to host a different kind of event that still permits participants to move about – a county wide scavenger hunt.

Tessa Hull, who grew up in Union County, said she borrowed the idea from Madison County after she participated in a similar scavenger hunt with friends over Fathers’ Day weekend.

“We had such a great time that we thought it would be a great idea to bring it to Union County as a fundraiser,” she said. “In this time of social-distancing, it’s hard to find fundraising activities that allow the distance.

As the event’s organizer, Hull said she just started to compile a list of items, locations and historical markers participants could find.

“It’s all throughout Union County, so this will take you to Lorimor, to Thayer, to Arispe, Creston – all over,” she said. “So everyone can get some insight to their community.”

A challenge

Hull said the countywide scavenger hunt is challenging.

“They have to go quite a distance in three hours to cover the whole county,” she said.

To complete the list, Hull said participants will need to know quite a bit about Union County.

“I think if someone actually completes the list, they’re amazing,” said Hull. “We might have to come up with a special thing for them.”

Hull said it’s her hope that the event is not only fun, but a learning experience.

“Since the library is the only (public) library in the county, we wanted to make sure the whole county was included and for everybody to learn more about their county,” she said. “People know the railroad history and basic history, but they don’t know about all the special things about all the other smaller towns that make them unique.”

For example, Hull said the Afton sign that welcomes motorist into town used to say, “Flow gently sweet Afton” after a Scottish folk song of that title.

“The wife of a gentleman from Chariton actually named Afton,” Hull said. “That was her favorite Scottish song.”

How it works

Once teams mark themselves as “Going” on the event’s Facebook Page – The Great Union County Scavenger Hunt – teams begin the scavenger hunt on the 28th by posting a photo of their team on the event page. Teams will be required to photograph the items they find or locations they visit throughout the duration of the event and post the photos as comments underneath their team photo.

“It’s a little confusing at the beginning, but once you start it makes sense,” Hull said.

The event will begin promptly at 2 p.m. The list of items and locations to find will be posted on the event page, on the library’s website and paper copies will be available at that time at the library.

“You’ll then have three hours to find as much as you can, including the bonus points that are on there,” Hull said.

At 5 p.m., participants will pull up to the library in their vehicle and one of the event volunteers will ask for the number of items found and count the number of people within the vehicle.

“We will then go in and bag up your food for you and bring your food and drinks to your car and off you go,” Hull said.

Winners will be announced later after the participants’ finds are verified.

“There is a special prize for the best name,” Hull said.

The meal includes chips, cookies provided by Java J’s, pork loin sandwiches provided by Hull Monument Services and water donated by Green Accounting.Register for the

Hull said the event is all virtual. Registration takes place through a link on Gibson Memorial Library’s Facebook page or website.

“What the registration provides is three hours of social-distancing fun and a dinner.

Registration

Proceeds of The Great Union County Scavenger Hunt support the Gibson Memorial Library capital campaign and library expansion. The cost to participate in the three hour event is $30 for up to three people, $50 for four to six people, and $55 for a group with more than seven participants. To register, go to tinyurl.com/huntunioncounty.

Once fees are paid, mark yourself “Going” on the event’s Facebook Page – The Great Union County Scavenger Hunt.

Additional information is available via the Gibson Memorial website at creston.lib.ia.us, on library’s Facebook page or on the Facebook event page. For questions, contact Gibson Memorial Library at 641-782-2277, text 641-435-3508 or email crestonlibrary310@gmail.com.

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