The fifth annual Monroe County History Center PuzzleFest will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 in the Girls Inc. of Monroe County gymnasium.
This fundraising event is for the Monroe County History Center’s educational programs. It will feature a jigsaw competition, a puzzle demonstration, a collection of puzzles from the Lilly Library and a puzzle sale and swap.
Jennifer Borland, the History Center’s Board president and long-time volunteer, said she came up with the idea to use puzzles to fundraise around five years ago.
“In the cold winter months, people are a little bit more hesitate to go outside,” Borland said. “We’re always looking for interesting ways to bring people to the history center and to see all of the awesome things that we have."
One of the event’s highlights is the jigsaw competition, where groups of four attempt to assemble a puzzle before the other teams. There are adult and youth divisions of the race.
Each participant will receive small gifts such as puzzles or mugs and the top three winners will receive trophies.
“There’s a lot of desire to be in one of those three places,” Borland said.
This year, to pay homage to IU’s bicentennial celebration, the puzzles used in the competition will be of images of IU-related artifacts.
“We love to acknowledge, celebrate, commemorate the bicentennial along with the university,” said Andrea Hadsell, education manager of the Monroe County History Center.
Andrew Rhoda, puzzle curator at the Lilly Library, will present a demonstration on the library’s puzzle collection, Borland said.
“IU has this really amazing collection of puzzles,” Borland said. “I think Andrew is the only curator of puzzles in the world."
Marc Tschida, owner of Press Puzzles in Bloomington, will attend the event to show his mechanical puzzles, which are interlinked mechanical pieces that need to be manipulated in a certain way for the puzzle to be solved. An example of a mechanical puzzle is a Rubik’s Cube.
“He makes really cool 3D puzzles now and some different styles of puzzles that are works of art in addition to being really fun puzzles to solve,” Borland said.
There will also be a puzzle sale and swap where attendees can come with new or used puzzles and trade them in for a reduced price on the puzzles that they want to buy.
The event is free and unticketed.