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The secret’s out: Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt captivates region

Chris Dorman is the man behind Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt, and hides jars around the valley region with gift cards and clues inside them. Jars range in size and style, and some hunts involve multi-jar hints.
Chris Dorman is the man behind Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt, and hides jars around the valley region with gift cards and clues inside them. Jars range in size and style, and some hunts involve multi-jar hints. - Sara Ericsson

BERWICK – There’s no hiding the fact that a scavenger hunt has taken over the Annapolis Valley.

Chris Dorman, the man with the plan to hide gifts and write hints for people to search for their location, says the now-Valley-famous hunt is the culmination of two separate ideas. He’d originally thought of placing hidden notes and codes throughout the valley, and also had a separate plan to pay it forward and buy someone’s coffee.

Dorman then found himself buying four gift cards for $5 each, and the two ideas converged – he hid them around the valley and posted hints to each one on yard sale pages on Facebook.

“All of a sudden, people were following it and waiting for when I put the jars out. Once I put them out, they were gone in 30 minutes,” he says.

Dorman points to a jar under the steps in the A.E. Bezanson park, where he’s hidden a jar before.
Dorman points to a jar under the steps in the A.E. Bezanson park, where he’s hidden a jar before.

His first item, a $5 gift card, was placed inside a plastic bag and hidden within a sour cream container, and sealed with duct-tape – measures Dorman took before he realized how quickly the items would be found.

“I thought it was going to be out there for months – I didn’t think people would be rushing out to find them,” he said.

This unexpected success spurred Dorman to start his own Facebook page, Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt. The page had been up for just a few hours when Dorman began receiving messages from businesses wanting to donate gift cards.

Now, prizes that are hidden range from $5 to $150, and are hidden and accompanied by a hint, shared on Dorman’s Facebook page. The locations are always on public property, and objects are always hidden in different types of spots, inside different kinds of containers.

The hunt first kicked off at the end of August, and has since grown to more than 2,000 followers, and nearly the same number of donations. Dorman says he’s trying to slow things down now with winter around the corner, but was at one point hiding up to nine jars per week.

The initiative started when Dorman wanting to start a scavenger hunt, and also a way to pay it forward. Both ideas converged, and the Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt was born.
The initiative started when Dorman wanting to start a scavenger hunt, and also a way to pay it forward. Both ideas converged, and the Annapolis Valley Scavenger Hunt was born.

It’s grown so large that Dorman even gets noticed while walking around, even when he’s not hiding jars.

“I go out for walks sometimes – when I’m not hiding anything – and I can tell that people sometimes recognize me, and get on their phones to see whether I’ve just hidden something and am posting about it,” he laughs.

And he says that despite the clear potential for this to grow into something profitable for him is just not what he’d ever want for this movement he’s started, and is something he’s “not even remotely interested in.”

Dorman, rather, focuses on the fun and positivity it brings to people who find the hidden jars. He says the hunt will remain a non-profit initiative that gives it all right back into the community.

What he is in it for is hearing the stories people share of what led up to them discovering the jar. He remembers one such, from a woman who discovered a jar that eventually led her to $100.

“This lady told me about how she’s hurt her back, and hadn’t been able to get out with her friends walking the way they used to. This was something she could do with her friends, and that was really cool to hear,” says Dorman.

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