A group of five women, dressed in weather-related costumes, pose for a phohto
The 417 Weather Girls won the costume contest at the 2021 Queen City Quest. That event returns for its third year April 15. (Photo: History Museum on the Square)

Yes, the Queen City Quest is a chance to help raise money for the History Museum on the Square. It’s also a chance to learn more about Springfield’s rich history while having fun with your friends.

“Our goal, basically, is we want to educate you first,” said Charlotte McCoy, business manager at the museum and one of the event’s organizers. “So the (mission) is not going to be run down Commercial Street and find Big Momma’s and take a picture. We’re going to tell you about Big Momma’s, or we’re going to tell you about that building or we’re going to tell you some history first. Then you go do the mission.”

The third annual scavenger hunt returns this Saturday, April 15. The deadline to register your team of four is Thursday, April 13.

“I have 14 teams, which is good,” McCoy said. “I would love to have 25 teams all competing against each other. I mean, how fun would that be?”

Teams download app, answer questions and complete missions

The Queen City Quest is a three-hour event, starting at 11 a.m. Here’s how it works. The teams all download a free app called GooseChase. Players use that app to complete challenges, answer questions and track their progress. Teams can also track opponents’ progress and the leaderboard during the game, which ends at 1 p.m. with an afterparty at the Historic Fox Theatre on Park Central Square — right next door to the History Museum.

Each challenge, mission and question is assigned a point value. The team with the most points wins.

“Even though you might be doing more questions, those don’t count for as many points as a GPS answer or a mission challenge where you’ve got to find a picture or something like that,” McCoy said.

A group of three people pose by a mural, imitating the baseball players painted on the wall
A team completes the “Cardinal Challenge” during a previous Queen City Quest. The scavenger hunt is a fundraiser for the History Museum on the Square. (Photo: History Museum on the Square)

And the game will evolve. The History Museum on the Square’s team — McCoy included — will be behind the scenes, monitoring the progress of the competitors and pushing out more challenges or questions as they see fit. They can deduct points from a team if its mission falls short. They can also award extra points for missions accomplished in an extraordinary fashion.

“I can push out 150 questions just about Commercial Street and you could stay there for an hour and a half or so,” McCoy said. “But then if I see people getting bored, or they’re not doing anything, or they need to move on, I can push out another 50 questions just about Midtown and people will have to get in their car and move. So we get to see it on the back end and just watch everybody, which is the coolest.”

That monitoring will also allow McCoy and crew to make sure everyone is following the rules.

“We can tell them they need to re-do a challenge because they don’t have the whole team in their picture, or whatever it might be,” she said. “We don’t want them to cheat, you know? We want everybody to have their phones and be doing things, but we want them to do it together. Don’t separate and have somebody do 20 questions while the rest of the team is doing something else.”

A group of four people sit around a concrete table playing poker
The Springfield Cardinals team plays poker on Park Central Square during a previous Queen City Quest. The scavenger hunt is a fundraiser for the History Museum on the Square. (Photo: History Museum on the Square)

This year’s quest centers around C-Street, Midtown

The first Queen City Quest was all over the city, McCoy said, while last year’s event focused on downtown. This year’s scavenger hunt centers around the Commercial Street and Midtown neighborhoods.

“There’s some really cool stuff that happened on Commercial Street,” McCoy said. “There’s a lot of great history and there’s a lot of cool stuff currently, so we’re involving not only the current merchants and restaurants, but also the stuff from the past, too.”

Event’s swag — a bandana — has ties to the pandemic

The cost of competing in the Queen City Quest is $100, and teams are encouraged to dress in costumes. The swag for the event? Special Queen City Question bandanas. They’re a holdover from the event’s first edition, which came during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody was staying at home and doing nothing, but you could still go outside, learn something and have a good time with your friends. Even with a mask,” McCoy said. “So our swag is a bandana that you can use as a mask, or to pull back your hair, or use it as a scarf or whatever.”

Want to join the Queen City Quest?

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 15

Where: Commercial Street and Midtown, with an afterparty at the Historic Fox Theatre downtown

Sign up: The entry fee is $100 and registration can be done online. The deadline is Thursday, April 13.

For more information: Call 417-831-1976 or visit the History Museum on the Square’s website.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger