Puzzle solved? Two sleuthy entrepreneurs may hold the key to bringing more festive entertainment to the area.
Mount Dora natives, Kara Hymel and Kristen McLain, have joined creative forces to start Mount Dora Explorers, an local entertainment company offering differently themed scavenger hunts for adults.
"We love Mount Dora so much. We truly think we have the best town with the best bars, restaurants, history, and scenery. We wanted to expose both tourists and locals alike to everything our great town has to offer in a fun, unique way." said Hymel.
First, Mount Dora Explorers will offer a Booze Clues Easy Pub Crawl. This quest takes you into 10 local pubs and restaurants for a fun night out. It is part Amazing Race, part Pub Crawl, and part treasure hunt, accordingly to Hymel. This game asks hunters to solve riddles and clues that will lead them to bars around town.
Once inside, they will decipher another clue to find something inside of the establishment, and then answer a question about it. Participants rack up points for correct answers, as well as bonus points for taking photos along the way in different poses or enjoying libations. Yes, by pub #10 the pictures could get very interesting!
For the cerebral types that enjoy imbibing, the Booze Clues Challenging Pub Crawl provides more of a mental workout. Of course, competitive sleuths will enjoy the night's pub crawl, however this game requires hunters to solve more complex ciphers, cryptograms, and puzzles in order to determine their destinations.
For history buffs and sightseers, there is the Mount Dora Explorer Photo Hunt. This option provides sleuths a similar format as the the Booze Clues Pub Crawl, but takes place outdoors throughout downtown's Historic District.
Lastly, there is The Eye Spy Mount Dora Photo Hunt. Thisfast-paced timed hunt asks hunters to find a list of random items at local businesses. They are given the list of items to find, their possible locations, and set off on a race against time. The fastest team to find all of the items and take pictures with them every month gets a fun prize.
Best friends since their days at Mount Dora High School, Hymel and McLain are both working mothers of toddlers. Hymel is an English teacher at Mount Dora High School and Kirsten is a field consultant for Kumon.
"We also love puzzles and hunts. We've been making them for each other for years. Our interests naturally combined to form this idea," said Hymel.
The pair may be on to something. In December, the city's first annual Tipsy Elf Pub Crawl, organized by performer David Oliver Willis, was a tremendous success. The event attracted droves of a coveted demographic that doesn't typically frequent downtown.
In the beginning, the company will offer the hunts on the last Saturday each month and will begin at Norm's Palette at 303 N. Baker Street. There are plans to expand with more dates as word spreads and demand develops. Each hunt can be done with a group or individual. January 30th will be the opening hunt with tickets priced at $10 a person
For tickets, times or more info go to www.mtdoraexplorers.com. Prizes will be awarded for those who successfully complete the hunt.
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Above:Kirsten McLain (left) and Kara Hymel (right) of Mount Dora Explorers