ST. CLOUD – The United Way of Central Minnesota is gearing for a unique and competitive fundraising event this weekend.

The organization will host The Amazing-est Race, a scavenger hunt-style contest based on popular television show The Amazing Race. The contest will be held Saturday, Oct. 3 from 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Sam Switzer, Events & Brand Manager for the United Way of Central Minnesota says the contest will pit teams of 2-4 against one another as they complete a virtual scavenger hunt around St. Cloud. Using a cell phone and app, teams will be given a series of clues and challenges to complete in a two-hour time period.

“So, they might be running around, doing various physical or mental – or goofy – challenges,” Switzer explained.

Switzer says the event was planned as a fun shift away from the United Way’s annual 5K, and underwent many changes over the summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID hit, we realized it wouldn’t be possible to have all those volunteers out there, and teams in a big group, so we looked into how we could make the event something fun, family-friendly and safe,” Switzer explained. “So, we turned it into a … I don’t want to call it a ‘virtual’ event, because you are still doing it in person out in the community. But, you’re very much on your own, doing all the challenges through an app.”

Contestants will be able to pick up their competition kits Friday, and will receive passwords to log in to the competition app before the event begins on Saturday morning. Teams will have the still-secret challenges sent to their phones, and will required to upload photos and videos through their apps as proof of completion.

“The challenges are hilarious, and people are going to have so much fun,” Switzer said. “Some are really just based on location, so people will have to be observant, or count things, and notice certain landmarks. Other things are going to be purely physical where you’ll have to do something and record yourself.”

Teams will earn points based on the difficulty of the challenge, and over $1000 in cash prizes will be awarded to top-scoring teams.

“I keep warning people – pick your teams strategically,” Switzer laughed.

All proceeds from The Amazing-est Race will go into the United Way of Central Minnesota’s general fund.

“With COVID hitting, so many of our programs were cut back this year,” she said. “So we want to build up or general fund so we can support as many programs in our community as possible. We want to be prepared to step up and help with whatever we can this winter.”

Registration for the event ends Thursday evening. To learn more, visit the United Way of Central Minnesota’s website.