Turn into any odd alley in Downtown Ventura and you’ll perhaps come across something peculiar. Remnants of an era long gone, graffiti from your grandparents’ generation or the architecture from the ghosts of an old theater are strewn about the city’s thriving Main Street. Ask yourself: Are you truly keen on the history of Ventura? Are you an ace at solving riddles? Does adventure strike excitement into your heart? Do you wish that you had a mustache like Poirot? Come June 15, the Secrets of Old Ventura might just have your number — with prizes to boot.
Race/LA’s CityRace returns with Secrets of Old Ventura, part of a series of adventures set in urban downtown locations across Southern California. February’s inaugural Ventura event saw teams of up to four sprawl out through the Downtown shopping district in a race to solve clues and gather information.
Race/LA is a Los Angeles-based organization that has hosted urban scavenger hunts since 2004, beginning in Los Angeles and eventually spreading to Orange County, Newport and Laguna Beach. In Ventura, Race/LA (known as CityRace) has found a new and exciting location for its interactive adventures.
“I wasn’t very familiar with the downtown area, so I drove up one Sunday last December,” said John Hennessy, founder of Race/LA. “I knew within about three minutes that it would be perfect. It’s such a great combination of history, culture and unique architecture, with lots of fun and interesting locations. It’s also nice to see lots of local businesses on Main Street, as opposed to national chains.”
The race is a three-hour hunt. Each team is given a map with hints and clues. Some clues are obvious — think statues or recognizable landmarks. Others are more challenging and rewarding, pointswise. The team that finishes first with the most points and correct answers is deemed the winner.
If there is a point to CityRace other than the inevitable camaraderie associated with playing detective with a group of friends, learning more about the city itself is the underlying theme, for locals and tourists alike.
“Often, we’ll walk by the same place every day and not notice something unique or original about it,” said Hennessy. “We’re not looking for that. Once you start looking, you start seeing things you never knew were there before.”
The Ventura race will take place June 15 at 10 a.m. in an area of approximately four square blocks spanning from the old Mission and anywhere into the surrounding area. Prizes are awarded to winners, but more on point is the team-building and whimsy associated with taking an all-to-familiar locale and turning it mysterious.
“Our goal is primarily to create a great experience for people. We want participants to have a fun and unique adventure that they will remember long after the hunt.”
For additional information, or to sign up, visit racela.com.