By Allison Brown
Pasadena Weekly Staff Writer

City Scavenger, an event firm, is taking escape room games to a whole new level with its Pasadena Pirates Treasure Hunt that will take place over 1 square mile outside Downtown on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The event is a combination of an escape room and a scavenger hunt, but for COVID-19 friendliness and the ability to host a larger crowd, everything will be done through an app, according to Steve Tishman, chief creative and event producer.

“On the day of the event, they will open our app and arrive at the preset secret starting locations,” Tishman said.

“Once they do, it is a self-starting program. They simply tap on the app and start the adventure. Everything they do is contained within our smartphone app. So, encounters with pirates or challenges and such will all be done virtually through the app itself. Teams will be tasked with deciphering puzzles, taking unique photos and making videos all as part of the program in which they are trying to find pieces of a treasure map.”

While there is obviously no “escaping,” being outside, City Scavenger has created a point system based on the completion of challenges. Finishing it on the first try will earn points, but using hints reduces the point total. The team that finishes with the most points will be crowned the winner and awarded $300. There is also a $60 prize for the best-dressed pirate team (although teams are not required to dress up).

The story involves a pirate searching for treasure.

“Our good Capt. Graybeard has gotten into a bit of a scuffle with his archenemy, which is Capt. Scurvy dog, who has ripped his map into pieces and scattered them around Downtown,” Tishman said.

“Capt. Graybeard has sent his pirates out to look for it, and as they find them, they’re willing to help the various pirate crews that are walking around — our participants — and giving them a piece of a map. But first they test the loyalty to our good captain. If you can complete a challenge or a puzzle and show your loyalty to the captain, that’s when you receive a clue. In this case, the clues are pieces of a treasure map. Once you have scurried around town and collected all of the pieces of the treasure map and done all of the challenges, then you have enough information to be able to solve the final challenge, which is the location of the missing treasure.”

Teams can range from two to six people, with kids younger than 12 excluded from that count. The price to participate is $50 per team. Because it is self-guided, teams can start anywhere between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and it takes roughly two and a half hours to complete. Tishman encouraged participants to make a day out of it, though, by stopping for lunch at a local restaurant or making a detour to explore Downtown.

City Scavenger was founded last year, and the pandemic forced it to reimagine the idea of event entertainment.

“This entire organization was developed in March of last year, just after the pandemic struck,” Tishman said. “While we were in lockdown, the program was designed. It was designed with the idea that we can’t be out among our friends. However, we can do this in a way that we keep people outdoors, which is safer than indoors, and we can have folks participating in something that is much larger than their small group and yet keeping them separate from each other.”

The company will donate $1 of every ticket sold to Shepherd’s Door, a local nonprofit that supports victims of domestic violence through counseling, legal services, healing art workshops and financial literacy classes.

Pasadena Pirates Treasure Hunt

WHEN: Start anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, takes about two and a half hours to complete, closes at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Pasadena (secret start locations will be revealed the day of the event)

COST: $50 per team