This August, United Way is bringing a new event to the area: The Itascamazing Race. Modeled after the reality TV competition series “The Amazing Race,” teams of up to eight will work and play together to solve clues to find unique locations, capture photos, and answer local trivia questions. With the Grand Rapids area as the game board, participants will have three hours to complete as many activities as possible, earning points along the way.

Challenges range from physical and mental to wacky and fun, and some tasks even prompt participants to learn more about United Way’s work in the Itasca area.

“We’re excited to bring this light-spirited event to the community,” says Kim Brink Smith, executive director of United Way of 1000 Lakes. “Much like United Way aims to problem-solve on a large scale by bolstering community-wide access to education, financial stability, and health, participating teams will have a chance to work together to take on each challenge.”

On Aug. 26, the event invites the community to a pre-race rally adjacent to United Way’s office (also known as the Old Kremer’s parking lot) at noon. Participants will pick up their race packet and instructions. At 1 p.m. the race will begin, and teams will set out on their hunts, reaching the finish line located at Rapids Brewing Co. by 4 p.m. The post-race Campaign Kickoff Party will include highlights from the race, including the prize ceremony, live music, and an opportunity to donate.

Both the pre-race and post-race celebrations are open to the public, with supporters receiving a meal ticket with a $20 donation to United Way.

“Anyone can get involved - families, coworkers, groups of friends. It’s a great way to learn more about United Way’s work and more deeply connect with your community,” says Brink Smith.

All funds raised through registrations, sponsorships, and through day-of donations will support United Way’s investments in the region’s nonprofit safety net.

“Supporters will have several chances to donate to United Way throughout the day,” says Brink Smith. “Thanks to generous sponsors, attendees of our pre-and post-race rallies will receive a meal ticket free with a minimum $20 donation - and teams may also have the chance to gain bonus points by raising additional funds.”

Those interested in learning more about the Itascamazing Race can visit uwlakes.org/itasca-mazing to find event details, FAQs, and registration. Interested participants may also call United Way at 218-999-7570 to ask questions.

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