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In search of: Island scavenger hunt July 4

By Staff | Jul 1, 2015

Sanibel Captiva Optimist Club members Randy Carson, Stan Howard, Dani Howard, Marit Hansen Mouchou, Ken Loewit, Mark O’Brien, Susan Barnes, Ken Loewit and Richard Mcurry gear up for the 36th Optimist Club July 4 Road Rally, which takes off and ends at Timbers Restaurant. MEGHAN McCOY

A long standing tradition on Sanibel will send participants around the island in search of answers for a scavenger hunt this Fourth of July.

“It’s a scavenger hunt in the car,” Sanibel Captiva Optimist Club Road Rally Master Randy Carson said.

He said the event is in its 36th year because it is something different.

“It’s family and tourist oriented,” Carson said, adding that the event often times attracts residents outside of Sanibel from New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, Naples and Bonita Springs.

This year’s Road Rally will be held Saturday, at Timbers Restaurant, 703 Tarpon Bay Road. City of Sanibel Manager Judy Zimomra will send the first vehicle off at noon. Every two minutes thereafter, a car will leave the parking lot.

A list of questions are given to the participants, as well as some bonus questions that will take them on a hunt that has a cut off of two and a half hours.

Carson said the teams usually consist of a driver, navigator and someone who writes down the answers. He said each team has their own name and many decorate their vehicle with Fourth of July decorations.

Entry forms can be found at Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel Cafe, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, online at www.sancapoptimist.org, or the day of the event. The fee is $35 per vehicle, which includes one official Road Rally T-shirt, a goodie bag comprised of sponsor giveaways, and a stop at the American Legion for a 10-minute hot dog break.

“It’s not a race,” Carson said. “You have to follow the speed limit.”

On average, 35 vehicles participate in the Road Rally each year. Carson said the event has attracted as many as 50 vehicles in past years.

Following the Road Rally an afterglow party will be held at Timbers, which will include a 50/50 drawing and an announcement of the winners.

Winners of the Road Rally will be crowned based on their correct answers, time it took to finish the scavenger hunt and how many miles they drove to find the answers. Carson said club members have timed the scavenger hunt and recorded the miles it took to find the answers, which is what the winners will be scored against for the road rally.

First, second, third and last place prizes will be awarded. The first place winner will receive a package to Tween Waters, second place will receive a package for Jensen’s on Captiva, the third place winner will receive a $100 gift card to The Jacaranda and the last place winner will receive free entry into next year’s rally.

A prize will also be given to the best decorated vehicle.

The Optimist Club took over the rally in 1991 from the Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber had it at the time and they wanted to pass it on,” he said of the longest running Fourth of July event.

The money raised during the Road Rally will go towards the Optimist’s scholarship fund. Carson said this year they are giving six recipients a scholarship totaling $7,000 a year for four years.

For more information about the rally, call Randy at (239) 699-8739, Richard at (239) 292-4631, or Dani at (239) 472-0836.