by Stephen Dafoe
Three local women spent an entire week stepping outside their comfort zones while putting a smile on plenty of faces.
Colette Bachand, Paige Brenneis and Alexis Ebert took part in GISHWES – The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.
GISHWHES is a five-time Guinness World Record breaking scavenger hunt hosted by Misha Collins, star of the television series Supernatural.
The event ran Aug. 1 to 8 and the three woman and Bachand’s boyfriend formed a team with some Americans to try and accomplish as many of the 259 items on the list as possible. The group managed 75 of the tasks. Blanchard, Brenneis, and Ebert accomplished roughly 30 of that number.
Bachand dressed as Edmonton’s much-hated silver balls monument and stood by the real chrome balls while waving at traffic, and got a 10-second video of herself shown on the big screen at an Edmonton cinema. She also went on a date to a fancy restaurant with a stuffed muskrat and got to dress as a ghost barista at a Starbucks.
Brenneis created some flyers for toilets that said flush only when full, got a GISHWHES coffee added to the menu board at the Green Bean, and held a funeral for Death. The latter involved her dressing as one of the male characters from the television show and filming the scene, a recreation based on the Supernatural TV show.
One of Ebert’s contributions was to walk into a Subway and ask for a BLT sub with no bacon, lettuce or tomato. The request also had to have no bread. In fact, the breadless sandwich wound up being nothing but condiments, which she ate at the counter off the wax paper to the amusement of staff and customers. She also helped promote a petition to save the endangered unicorn, one that got lots of signatures.
All of the scavenger hunt items had to have photo or video evidence, and the group chronicled all of their scavenger hunt activities.
Regardless of the activity, the antics put a smile on people’s faces, even popping out a taxidermy muskrat at a fine dining establishment.
“Everything that we did that was uncanny, people smiled at,” Bachand said. “They find it really amusing, which is kind of cool. It’s like a small act of random kindness to make someone’s day. That waiter will never forget that [muskrat], nor will the people on the Whitemud.”
Although the women accomplished roughly 30 items on the list, some were higher on their memory lists than others.
For Brenneis, portraying one of her favourite show’s characters for Death’s Funeral was a highlight.
Bachand said there were three she was most fond of, but dressing as the silver balls and waving at Whitemud drivers was probably the highlight.
“Almost every person smiled and waved at me, and about 40 per cent of the people gave me a toot,” she said.
But there was more to the week of silliness than getting a few smiles and a few car honks. The women found GISHWHES took them outside their comfort zones a bit.
“[I got] an incredible boost in confidence and an uncanny ability to believe anything is possible,” Bachand said, adding getting a 10-second video projected on a theatre screen was evidence of that. “You can’t shut down an idea until you’ve tried.”
Brenneis also found the event gave her an incredible boost in confidence. “I’m nervous about asking people stuff,” she said. “One of the items we had to do was get a TV show host or talk show host to sneeze GISHWHES on the air as if they’re subtly trying to bring it up. For numerous days, and numerous times during each day I phoned.” Although she was not successful in her bid, the experience built her confidence in being tenacious.
The annual GISHWHES event draws thousands of participants from more than 100 countries to do some random acts of kindness, step outside their comfort zone while being artistic and creative.
More information on GISHWHES is available at www.gishwhes.com.
Post It Notes on lockers
A date with a muskrat
Zombies playing croquet
– Submitted Photos