CHATHAM – The annual Chatham Merchants Association’s scavenger hunt is on, as the Oars in the Stores make waves through Labor Day in shops and businesses throughout downtown.
Twenty-nine uniquely painted oars are on display in shop windows and businesses throughout Chatham. Scavenger Hunt Log Books are available at the Oars in the Stores Headquarters, also known as the downtown visitor information booth located at 533 Main St., as well as in participating downtown shops, the Captain Bassett House Visitor Center at 2377 Main St. in South Chatham, and in a stand in Kate Gould Park at the merchants' Art in the Park exhibit.
Travel around town locating the colorful oars, and with each completed log book that is handed in, participants will receive a prize from the Chatham Merchants Association as well as entry for a grand prize drawing. All of the oars will be available for bidding via online auction from Aug. 22 to Sept. 8. Bidding will begin at $75 and increase in increments of $25.
“Proceeds will be split, with 50 percent going to the artist who created the oar and the other 50 percent to the Chatham Merchants Association to fund future events and support local services and organizations in the community,” said CMA director Janice Rogers. “Like so many others, we had to cancel our big fundraisers this year. The funds raised through the auction will go to support Monomoy Community Services and other important local services that would normally receive support through our fundraisers.”
This year, all oars are displayed to be visible from outside the shops in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. Steve Wardle of Forest Beach Design said that he and the staff have moved their showroom outdoors under a tent to help adhere to safety protocols. He said the Oars in the Stores Scavenger Hunt has been very popular, with people coming by throughout the day, often with children in tow, to search for the elusive oars.
“The oars are interesting, and there is a great variety. It’s fun for the kids and a fun, unusual way to travel all over town and explore while finding the different oars,” Wardle said. “The auction will happen at the end, and of course that money will be funneled right back into making Chatham an entertaining place. It’s a lot of fun.”
Ceci Hadawar of If the Shoe Fits has placed the shop’s oar in “not a really obvious place,” so when she spots a group with children approaching with their Scavenger Hunt Log Books in hand, she sometimes gives them a tiny hint.
“They still have to search for it, but that seems to work out well,” Hadawar said.
Adherence to safety guidelines requires Hadawar to maintain no more than eight customers inside her shop at one time, so she has found a way to work around having to ask part of a large scavenger hunting party to remain outdoors. Curious about what that might be? You’ll just have to pick up a Scavenger Hunt Log Book of your own and venture down Main Street to investigate. You may even find a few treasures for sale in downtown shops and businesses along the way.
“Everyone has been very courteous, very patient and they have been obeying the rules. So that part has been wonderful,” Hadawar said. “The decreased business due to the pandemic this year has been less than great, but everyone has been very pleasant, it has been working out very well and it has been fun.”
For more information about the Oars in the Stores Scavenger Hunt and Art in the Park auction, links for bidding, as well as to get a close look at the oars and read details about business sponsors and artists, visit chathamartinthepark.net.