History. Exploration. Bonding. Fun. All are part of the inaugural All-American Fayetteville Challenge coming to downtown Fayetteville, March 25.
USO of North Carolina and the Downtown Alliance have partnered for this unique event, which gives participants the chance to discover the downtown area in an entertaining way.
“It’s a cross between the Amazing Race and a scavenger hunt,” said Renee Lane, USO of N.C. Fort Bragg Center director.
The point of the challenge is to visit as many spots around the downtown area as possible in the time allotted.
“(Downtown Fayetteville) is a part of where we live,” Lane said. “Even though it’s 10 miles from post, it’s the center of the city where the post is located and there is so much to offer.”
The excitement kicks off at 10 a.m. on the Ray Avenue side of Festival Park, where the USO of N.C. will set up a mobile center.
Lane said this location isn’t just convenient — it’s also a meaningful part of the USO of N.C.’s history because it is the spot where the USO last stood in Fayetteville before it burned down in 2002.
Once teams receive their “marching orders” at Festival Park, it is up to them to decide the best approach to the challenge.
“It’s not a ‘stop here, then stop there,’” Lane said. “It’s not consecutive. (Teams) have to plan out the route once they see the map.”
Two-person teams must perform certain tasks at some locations, and will have the opportunity to document their adventures via social media.
For example, “once you stop at say, the Airborne and Special Ops Museum and you see Iron Mike, at the Iron Mike statute, we will have you pose like Iron Mike,” Lane said.
Participants will use their smartphones to track their progress through the challenge and can visit almost 30 stops in all. Teams will learn some little-known facts about the history of Fayetteville at the same time, according to Beverly Jackson, USO of N.C. Fort Bragg Center assistant director.
“There’s quite a bit of history in downtown Fayetteville that people here on Fort Bragg aren’t aware of and the race is actually a really good mix of the history and the new Fayetteville,” she said.
Teams will have until noon to complete as many stops as possible before returning to the Transportation and History Museum for a cookout and awards ceremony.
All participants receive a “swag bag,” and the top three teams win trophies documenting their success. Jackson said they will also award a “Best Team Theme.”
The event serves as a fundraiser for the USO of N.C.’s three Fort Bragg/Fayetteville centers. Last year, the organization saw 135,000 visitors at the Fort Bragg and Fayetteville Airport centers, according to Lane. They also serve 500 meals a month at the Warrior Transition Battalion.
“We serve a lot of coffee and provide different types of programs to service members and Families,” she said. “We are in a really great position to serve the military here, but we must continue to partner with local and regional businesses on events like the Fayetteville Challenge to keep our centers operating at the highest levels possible.”
For more information about the All-American Fayetteville Challenge, or to register for the race, visit www.fayettevillechallenge.com.