“I suggested we do something to promote the museum during Chingawassa Days,” said Gary Ewert, who teaches school in Newton and serves on the Marion Historical Museum Board.
“The museum is next to (Marion’s Central Park) where the activities are held,” he said. “I thought we should do something to attract attention to our beautiful museum.
“I love watching ‘The Amazing Race’ on television and thought it would be a great activity to have a similar race based on historical and other locations around Marion.”
As with the TV show, the teams for Marion’s event consist of two teammates who must race from place to place and perform simple tasks before they are given the next clue for the following location. Some teams will be eliminated along the way.
Despite the similarities, Ewert said the event does not include rappelling from cliffs.
“Last year teams had to go to (the Presbyterian Church), the oldest church in Marion, put on choir robes and sing the third verse of ‘Amazing Grace,’” Ewert said. “Then they received their next clue.”
Ewert said he felt last year’s event went well.
“Most teams were very complimentary of the race,” he said. “I had several (Chingawassa Days attendees) comment how much they enjoyed seeing parts of the event and the excitement of the teams.”
Considered a success, festival organizers requested Marion’s Amazing Race for a second year.
“The Chingawassa Committee was also very supportive in helping to promote (the race) and encouraged us to do it again,” Ewert said.
Ewert is in charge of brainstorming for the event.
“The preparation is really pretty simple,” he said. “I sit around and think of places and locations in Marion that could be used.
“I also get ideas about the tasks that are performed by watching the TV show and adapting them to our community. The museum board members and our curator assist in offering suggestions and helping at each location in making sure the tasks are completed correctly before giving out the next clue.”
Ewert disclosed a couple of changes for this year’s event. Participants will be more visible and Ewert has created some tasks to slow things down a bit.
“I hope this year’s race takes longer than the 20 minutes it did last year,” he said. “My wife and I timed it in planning and thought it would take 45 minutes. The winners did it in 20 and the second and third place teams were very close behind.”
But participants will have to wait until the race for any specific details.
“As my own sister—who was a participant last year—would tell you, I am very tight-lipped about those things,” Ewert said.
He quickly added the disclaimer that his sister and her teammate did not even place. “And I did not get a birthday present this year from her,” he said. “Any correlation? You be the judge.”
Although only nine teams competed last year, Ewert said there is no limit on the number of entries.
Marion’s Amazing Race will begin at the museum about 11:15 a.m. Saturday. Participants must be at least 17 years old, and each team is required to pay a $20 entrance fee. Proceeds go to the Marion Historical Museum. Registration for the event ends Friday.
The first-place prize will be $100 with $75 and $50 going to the second- and third-place teams, respectively.