Mainstreet Piqua event receives statewide recognition

For the Miami Valley Today

PIQUA —The Mainstreet Piqua board is excited to announce one of their new events in 2020 has been recognized with an Honorable Mention award by Heritage Ohio for “Best Main Street Committee Event.”

This year’s honorable mention was for the board’s “Jason Takes Mainstreet…” scavenger hunt contest, which kicked off in October of last year in Piqua. The event was created by Mainstreet Board Chair, Darrin Michael, along with the help of Piqua natives Graham Kindell and Nick Curtis.

“It’s pretty crazy to think an event centered around the mask of a horror movie icon from the 80s was recognized by Heritage Ohio,” said Michael. “When I presented the idea to Lorna (Swisher) last July for the contest, we had both thought it might go over well, but never expected for it to take off the way it did.”

Michael said the idea for the contest came last year after COVID regulations forced the Mainstreet board to have to reevaluate many of their events.

“Because of the COVID regulations on mass gatherings, many of our Mainstreet events had to be canceled, just like so many other things during 2020,” he said. “Towards the end of the summer last year, our Mainstreet board was brainstorming and trying to come up with new ideas for events that would not only be safe for the community, but also engage and entertain them as well.”

In order to execute this, the trio came up with an idea for a community-wide scavenger hunt contest to find a replica Jason Voorhees mask from the “Friday the 13th” horror movie series. A single new clue to the mask’s whereabouts was announced on WPTW and posted to the Facebook business pages of the event’s sponsors every day. The mask was eventually found by a father and son duo around the 11th day of the contest.

“We wanted the contest to be something different and maybe even a little off the wall when it comes to what most people think of for a local community event,” Michael said. “Graham actually has been making ‘Friday the 13th’ movie replica masks for a few years now, and people from all over the world purchase them. So when I brought up the idea to him for the contest and using one of his masks in it he was all for it, especially with the event being so close to Halloween.”

The contest was sponsored by a number of local Piqua businesses. Each sponsor donated an item to be added to a prize pack for the winner, as well as assisted with giving away clues on their Facebook page.

Aside from the time it took to make the mask, the contest didn’t cost a single penny to set up and manage.

“Graham and I actually have been in business together in Piqua for years and run a local digital marketing agency,” said Michael. “Many of the businesses who agreed to be sponsors are ones we have already been working with for a while now. When we presented the idea to them everyone was on board with it. It was great to have support like that from our local business community, especially considering at the time many of theses businesses had to alter their entire business models because of COVID.”

This year’s “Jason Takes Mainstreet…” contest is set to kick off on Oct. 1. Michael said the contest will follow the same rules as last year’s but also include a few new surprises, as well as new sponsors.

“We’ve already have most of the planning completed for this year’s contest and are finalizing the list of sponsors as well,” he said. “We also have a few news surprises as well.”

The annual Preservation and Revitalization Conference where the award will be presented to Mainstreet Piqua for the “Jason Takes Mainstreet…” contest is set for Oct. 19 in Springfield.

Heritage Ohio prompts economic growth through the preservation and revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods across Ohio. Heritage Ohio is the designated statewide Ohio preservation partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Through saving the places that matter we can all build a community and live better. Learn more about how to get involved by visiting www.heritageohio.org.