WESTFIELD, NJ — A group of people leave Westfield’s Lord & Taylor together, drive to Fridays, get out of the car, take a selfie, make a phone call, then get back into the car, drive to Five Below and repeated the same procedure. What are they doing? Want a clue? It’s based on a 1980 cult classic starring a very young Michael J. Fox.
The first annual Westfield "Midnight Madness" event, held earlier this month, was run by Midnight Madness, a company hired by Adam and Lynn Hirsh of Westfield. The game is based on the movie in which teams in a race across LA in a scavenger hunt called "The Great All-Nighter.”
Prior to this year, a similar event was hosted six times since 2010 in the West Orange/Livingston area. The Hirshes had been contestants in several of those games and had so much fun that they said wanted to bring the event to the Westfield area.
“We wanted a little competition and rivalry among friends,” Adam Hirsh said.
The inaugural Westfield event brought out 132 contestants, Hirsh said. The majority were from Westfield, with some from Cranford and Scotch Plains. Participants were broken up into 21 teams. Prior to the evening, each team was given a team color or theme and were instructed to dress in that color or theme, such as sports team, rock band and USA.
“Each team dressed to their colors/theme and embraced the spirit of the game, which was to have fun on a Saturday night,” said Hirsh.
The games began at the Lord & Taylor at 7:30 p.m. where the players learned the rules of the game and were given two tricky clues in an envelope to get started.
One clue read, “$4.26 $3.89 $2.37 $1.54 $0.99.” The answer: Five Below.
“Each team used either skill or wit along, with their smartphone, to obtain the answer to the clue,” said Hirsh, “and then had to drive to that location, take a team selfie and then call their game master for the next clue.”
After visits to Party City, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ralph's Italian Ices, Whole Foods and more, the finish line was The Station Bar and Grill in Garwood. When the teams arrived there, they were given a word scramble puzzle as the final step to completing the challenge. When it was all over all the teams celebrated at the Station.
“It was a tremendously fun competition,” said Westfield resident Rob Selvers, captain of the winning team. “There were a lot of great competitors out there. We just needed to take one clue at a time. We really brought our A game. It was a total team effort and thankfully we came out with a win.”
“There is only way to describe racing around town in a car full of your besties on a mission to solve clues and ending the evening celebrating with friends and toasting three winning teams,” said Westfield resident Brian Surowitz. “Best. Night. Ever.”
A frequent contributor to TAP into Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder/director of Throwback Sports (a sports program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org