Here are some events that actually occurred in South Florida:
▪ In 1985, a man in a Bugs Bunny costume wandered around on Hollywood Beach next to a pair of dice that stood 12 feet high.
▪ In 1992, three men in hip boots sloshed around in a Coral Gables reflecting pool for three hours in what was billed as “The Olympic Figure Wading Trials.” Shortly thereafter, a man dressed as a drunken vagrant in the Coral Gables bus station was suddenly surrounded by a crowd of extremely excited people shouting “Booger! Booger!”
▪ In 2001, in a temporary wrestling ring set up in a major intersection in Hollywood, a wrestler wearing a catcher’s mask and a tutu battled four wrestlers wearing bridal gowns and one dressed as an undertaker.
▪ In 2004, a gigantic model of a laptop computer appeared in Coconut Grove, with one letter missing from its keyboard, and the words “When is the key” on its screen.
▪ In 2011, an enormous brassiere, measuring 35 feet from end to end, appeared between two parking structures at Marlins Park.
All of these bizarre things, and many more that have appeared in South Florida over the past few decades, are connected. Can you guess what the connection is?
That’s right: The drug epidemic.
No! That was a joke. The connection is that all of these things were part of the Herald Hunt, a strange and wondrous South Florida tradition that dates back to the ’80s, when it was known as the Tropic Hunt. The Hunt is a giant puzzle that we here at the Herald set up for a day so that you, our readers, can drive yourselves crazy trying to solve it. We held Hunts off and on from 1984 through 2012, when, mainly for budget reasons, it was discontinued, much to the dismay of thousands of South Florida families who participated in it year after year.
But now we’re happy to announce that we’re bringing the Hunt back to Miami. It will be held Sunday, March 4, in Museum Park, next to the Frost Science and Perez Art museums. It’s free and open to everybody. All you need to do is get a copy of the special Hunt instructions section, which will be in the March 4 edition of the Miami Herald. Read the instructions carefully and be at the main stage in the park by noon, when the Hunt officially begins.
The Hunt usually runs for about four hours, and people usually compete in teams; the team can be any size, but four people is ideal. If you’re the first team to solve the Hunt, you’ll win four two-day staycations for two at the Costa d’Este Beach Resort and Spa, plus four $100 iTunes gift cards and four $100 Whole Foods gift cards. We also have prize packages for second- and third-place teams.
But even if you don’t win, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have a good time in a lovely setting surrounded by groups of fun-loving South Florida families, most of whom are every bit as confused as you are. When the Hunt is over Tom Shroder and I — we’re the creators of the Hunt — will announce the winners and explain how the Hunt worked, and you can express your appreciation, in accordance with hallowed Hunt tradition, by booing us.
If that sounds like fun, you should start assembling your Hunt team. Also — I’m repeating this, because it’s important — be sure to get the Sunday, March 4, Herald and read the special Hunt instructions section carefully. That’s all the preparation you need, although if you’d like to read more about how past Hunts worked, check out TropicHunt.com, an online archive lovingly maintained by Andy Wenzel, who has participated in every Hunt.
So come join us on March 4. If you’ve never been part of a Hunt before, we guarantee that you’re in for a unique experience. And if you’re one of our veteran Hunters, it’ll be great to see you again. We’ve missed you. Even the booing.