Provo breaks record for world’s largest scavenger hunt

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Scavengers read the rules prior to the start of the hunt. (Bryan Pearson)
Scavengers read the rules prior to the start of the hunt. (Bryan Pearson)

The City of Provo, Downtown Provo Inc. and Google Fiber collaborated to organize a record-breaking scavenger hunt Sept. 13.

The University of Chicago set the record for the largest scavenger hunt in 2011 with 924 participants. Provo shattered this previous record with 2,079 participants from around the community Saturday Sept. 13.

Google’s head of sales and marketing in Provo, Devin Baer, couldn’t keep the giddy smile off his face after a Guinness World Records judge made the official announcement.

“We didn’t just beat the record,” Baer said to the cheering crowd of participants, “We doubled it!”

Provo Scavenger Hunt commentator prepares for the start of the race. (Bryan Pearson)
Provo Scavenger Hunt commentator prepares for the start of the race. (Bryan Pearson)

The free event, named Passport to Provo, began at 1 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center. Teams of “hunters” completed challenges in various categories including downtown culture, outdoor adventure, quirky and fun, community service and local businesses.

Participants had the opportunity during the event to explore Provo businesses and receive samples, new products and giveaways.

“People will go to more of the businesses downtown after discovering them today,” said 24-year-old participant Kyndra Reiss. “And it promoted town unity.”

One of the local businesses involved in Passport to Provo was Sodalicious, a supporter of Provo’s downtown scene. Owner Kevin Auernig released a new drink for the event. Participants could taste the new drink combination and suggest a name.

“Downtown Provo is becoming something really cool,” Auernig said. “We want to be a part of it.”

The Guinness World Records sent an official to validate Provo's claim to the worlds largest scavenger hunt. (Bryan Pearson)
The Guinness World Records sent an official to validate Provo’s claim to the worlds largest scavenger hunt. (Bryan Pearson)

Mike Buonomo, executive director at Downtown Provo Inc., said the event was meant to bring the Provo community together and break a world record. Additionally, Buonomo hoped to “showcase the downtown area with everything it has to offer.”

“The synergy with the scavenger hunt idea was so strong because people can discover new things in Provo,” Baer said. “They can have new interactions, build new relationships and experience a really cool, up-and-coming area.”

Hosts threw an after-party Saturday evening at the Convention Center. The celebration featured Ryan Innes, DJ Skratchmo, Bboy Federation and FlipOut Flip Books.

“This was a lot of fun,” said participant Caryn Cruz. “I hope they do it again.”