“2022 marks the eighth year of the event,” said AVAdventure’s Adam Stackhouse in an interview with WYDaily. “The overall format is kind of like a mini, localized version of the show, “The Amazing Race”. People race around the city, but it’s not a traditional sprint, plus bike, plus kayak kind of adventure race.”
“It’s more like “The Amazing Race,” wherein at the starting line everyone gets a giant list of locations, businesses and organizations, and puzzles throughout the city, and then you go off in any order and do as much as you can in the three-hour window,” Stackhouse added.
Teams consist of either two or four players. The team that completes the most activities and gets the most puzzles right wins the friendly competition.
“Usually you’ll run into a business and then they’ll task you with an activity,” said Stackhouse. “It maybe is something random like the salon giving someone a small makeover, or you have to do some kind of performance on a stage, or you have to do some kind of tasting test, but you don’t know what those activities are until you run into that space.”
For the past two years, the format of the race was altered due to COVID-19 precautions during the peak moments of the pandemic. For example, last year’s event was altered to have the ADventure Race take place over four days rather than in one afternoon. AVAdventure says that the old format is making a return this year.
“The first five [Great Williamsburg Adventure Races] were like this year’s,” said Stackhouse. “The past two years we did a kind of covid version where people had four days to kind do the race on their own schedule, but we’re going back to the format that we had for the first five years, which was last done in 2019, where they had three hours to do as much as possible, and we always had a good number of people who managed to do everything.”
Once a team successfully completes a challenge at a business or organization they will receive a stamp on their team’s sheet, and then they can try and move on to successfully complete the next challenge or puzzle. AVAdventure race wants the challenges and puzzles to be a surprise for participants that sign up for, the event so they are keeping the list of participating businesses this year a secret until the day of the race.
“You discover the list when the race starts because you can’t plan ahead of time. You’ll get a packet and when we say, ‘go,’ everyone rips open the packet and is immediately provided with all the information for the next three hours,” said Stackhouse. “A big part of the race is strategizing where to go and in what order to most efficiently maximize your team’s time.”
The City of Williamsburg sponsors the event. Students and local residents are encouraged to sign up. Current William & Mary (W&M) students may register for free, and non-students may register for $15 per person.
“It really appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, to escape room lovers, and to people looking for a unique social activity to do with friends and family,” said Stackhouse. “It’s fun to see groups of friends out doing it, young professionals, students, but also families, older generations, and people with young kids. We also have a couple of retiree teams.”
Participants will meet at the Williamsburg Community building prior to the start of the race, at around 12:30 p.m. That is followed by pre-race announcements, and then all the teams start at the same time.
For more information on the 8th Annual Great Williamsburg Adventure Race, please visit AVAdventure’s website.