Load your family, best buddies, or you, yourself, and the family dog into your vehicle April 17 and cruise Citrus County to support scholarships and community grants and learn a little about where we live.

The Rotary Club of Inverness is sponsoring a Road Rally and Scavenger Hunt, starting at 9 a.m., with the finish line at the First Baptist Church, 550 Pleasant Grove Road, Inverness. There, participants will turn in their scavenger hunt answer sheets between 1-2 p.m. A scavenger hunt winner will be announced about 3 p.m. and will win a cash prize whose amount will vary, depending upon the number of entrants.

The Rotary would like to see 50 vehicles entered, which would yield a cash prize of $250.

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Registration by noon, April 15, is on the Eventbrite website: https://tinyurl.com/y9webqny.

Cost is $20 per vehicle. Fifty-fifty tickets, ranging from $5-$20, will be sold when participants register online, and also when they turn in their answer sheets at the church. Rotary also will be accepting, at the church, donations for the Citrus County Family Resource Center.

The Family Resource Center especially could use: boys’ and girls’ pajamas, pants, and shirts; teen sleepwear; ladies plus-size pants and small-size panties; and men’s sleepwear. The center also could use sleeping bags and tarps, deodorant, and insect repellant.

Lace Blue-McLean, who serves on the committee overseeing the road rally and scavenger hunt, explained that COVID forced Rotary to cancel its major fundraiser this spring, The Highland Craft Brew Festival. Instead, Rotary sponsored smaller fundraising events, including a whiskey tasting in November and a Scotch tasting in February. The road rally in April and a visit to at least one area craft brewery is part of the smaller-event fundraising efforts.

According to Rotary Director Rebecca Martin, a visit to Copp Winery and Brewery, Crystal River, is planned for Thursday, April 1, at 5:30 p.m., although previously planned visits later in the month to Marker 48 Brewing, Brooksville; Nine State Brewery, Inverness; and Hiatus Brewing Co., Ocala, have been postponed. In the past, these breweries have supported the Highland Brew Festival.

Blue-McLean said Rotary wanted a fun family-friendly and pandemic-friendly event. After brainstorming, the planning committee decided upon the Road Rally and Scavenger Hunt, an event that would highlight the natural resources of the county and also highlight some of the county’s history and some Rotary information.

Rally participants will be required to meet online at 9 a.m. the day of the event to receive their final instructions and nine location clues. Then, depending on the quadrant of Citrus County in which they live and what their clues suggest, participants will hop into their vehicles and drive to nature and other sites in their quadrant. At each site, if they’ve successfully driven to the site their clue suggests, participants will find a visual clue that will help them fill out their answer sheet.

People from Citrus Springs, for example, will stay near home base and won’t have to drive to Homosassa, and vice versa, to find answers for their clues.

Each quadrant also will have a captain, and participants will have the captain’s phone number, in case they get lost, decide to drop out, or have other issues.

Blue-McLean said participants won’t be able to take the easy way out by checking online for the answers. They will have to drive to the clue sites.

“You can’t Google 99.9% of our clues,” she said.

She said participants are encouraged to create team names, but someone will have to supply a working email address when that person registers. All team members are required to compete in one vehicle.

The rally is not a race. Participants may have time to stop at a restaurant for lunch or may pack a lunch.

When they pull up at First Baptist Church, participants will drive to a first station, where they will turn in their answer sheets. At the second station, they will be able to buy 50/50 tickets, and at the third station, they can make a donation to the Family Resource Center.

Then, they’ll be able to park. There will be entertainment, but no food, until the winner of the event is announced around 3 p.m. The Rotary is doing what it can to make the event COVID-safe.

Blue-McLean said if more than one team has the right answer, a winner will be randomly drawn from those entries that have perfect scores.

Rotary raises money for scholarships for local students, as well as money for charities in the county.

Blue McLean said Rotary is doing what it can to stay active and raise charitable funds during the pandemic.

“We’re doing something,” she said. “Our members are staying engaged and we’re helping our community. Rotary is out there.”

For more information, contact john.murphy1989@gmail.com.

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