FARGO – For three years, Tara Bennett has called her mother, who lives in upstate New York, for help finding the elusive Northern Plains Coin hidden by The Forum as part of a treasure hunt each day of the Downtown Street Fair.
This year, Stacey Heary decided to help her daughter in person. Arriving in Fargo on Wednesday, she barely had time to nap before the duo woke up at 4:30 a.m. to start a day of detective work based on The Forum’s cryptic clues.
“I look every year and I can never find it,” Bennett said. “She flew out to help me.”
After a nearly 12-hour search in the sun, the mother-daughter team found the coin at the intersection of two alleys off Broadway and Third Avenue North to the west of Pickled Parrot.
“I’ve seen the underside of every dumpster in Fargo,” Heary said as she stood triumphantly in the alley where her daughter found the coin attached by a magnet to the bottom of a gray utilities box. “We had so much fun; it was well worth my trip.”
Bennett said the two first clues didn’t particularly help them. The first, “Don’t miss this coming attraction,” led her to Broadway, and the second, “Come as you are to this token,” left them puzzled.
That clue was a reference to a 1992 Nirvana song called “Come as You Are.” The coin was hidden near Kurt Cobain-inspired graffiti.
The third and final clue – “Hop, skip, and jump to find this coin, located where alleys collide” – made them think of frogs. So they searched online for frogs and Fargo, leading them to the Toasted Frog, a restaurant planned for 305 Broadway Ave.
Bennett walked down a nearby alley and came to an intersection with another ally – the place “where alleys collide.”
She felt underneath a nearby utilities box and was shocked to find the coin.
“I said, ‘Oh, my god’ and I grabbed it really fast,” Bennett said. “I think I froze for a second.”
The duo haven’t decided what to use the $500 prize money on. “We’re just going to have some fun,” Bennett said.
After a long day in the sun, some fun may be deserved.
But the mother and daughter won’t be resting too long. They will be back at the Fair todayFriday trying to snag a second coin.
Pick up a copy of Friday's Forum for the first clue in Day 2 of the Northern Plains Coin Hunt.
Here’s how it works:
- The Forum will hide one Northern Plains Coin each day of the fair, starting today. Coins will be hidden in a spot accessible to the public and somewhere between the boundaries of Sixth Avenue North and Sixth Avenue South; the Red River to the east and 10th Street on the west, north of Main Avenue; and Seventh Street to the west, south of Main Avenue.
- Each day, read The Forum to find the first clue to help find that day’s coin. Additional clues will be given online each day at Inforum.com and during “The Christopher Gabriel Program,” which airs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on WDAY AM 970. If the coin still is unclaimed, the final clue will be given on “The Jay Thomas Show” between 2 and 5 p.m. on AM 970. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, the second and third clues will be found online at Inforum.com.
- Go downtown and start looking. Coins will be hidden well, but no digging, dumping, destroying or trespassing will be necessary to find the coin. Please respect the business owners and residents of downtown Fargo during your search.
- You’ll also be able to follow the Northern Plains Coin Hunt via Twitter and Facebook. Just keep tabs on @Inforum for the latest updates. We will let the public know if the coin is found as soon as we are informed of it being turned in.
- If you find the coin, return it by 5 p.m. to The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Fargo. The token can then be redeemed at Northern Plains Coin for $500 worth of gold that the store will buy back, if desired. Your name, photo and the story of how you found the coin will be published in the next day’s Forum.