Residents and tourists have the opportunity to earn “Clay County swag” by participating in the county’s virtual bingo game – a checklist of unique and historic sites throughout the county.
The virtual passport is a combined effort among Clay County District schools, the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office, Archives Center and Tourism Department.
Those wishing to take on the challenge of visiting and marking off the 24 sites on the bingo board are entered into a quarterly giveaway. For those that choose to play on a physical version of the card, after receiving a ‘BINGO’ players should visit the Clay County Archives for a small prize such as pens, postcards, maps, guides, coupons, a waterproof cellphone case lanyard and more.
Archives Specialist Vishi Garig has a “treasure box” full of prizes visitors can pick from – mainly for kids who visit, Administration Office Public Information Officer Mary Justino said.
She created the “treasure box” from antique suitcases which are covered in travel stickers, like the old days. Any visitors to the County Historical Triangle are welcome to stop in for a self-guided tour of the Old Jail and take some prizes home, Justino said.
The History Bingo Pass is a card, downloaded onto one’s phone, featuring 24 historic sites to visit within Clay County, each with a unique background. Families and citizens can use the bingo card as a game, exploring suggested historic sites throughout the county, and marking them off as they go.
“What we wanted to do was come up with a marketing strategy that helped tell the story of our home county every day of the year, not just a few months of the year,” Director of Tourism Kimberly Morgan said.
Those wishing to participate can visit the ExploreClay website to download their virtual passport on their smartphone to get started. The passport will be instantly delivered via text and email and is ready to use immediately. A guide provides the 24 sites within the county, a built-in GPS, and a ‘check-in’ button which is used to mark off an attraction on the bingo card.
The Bingo pass will be updated annually in conjunction with the Celebrate Clay History Festival each May, Morgan said.
“We’re doing a Clay County Tourism prize pack that includes some Clay County swag. Just recently one person visited 10 locations on the History Pass,” Morgan said. “We’re hearing that people are making return visits to these locations too. We’re excited to say that people have checked in on the Pass at 20 of the 24 locations.”
Each time a participant checks into 10 locations on the virtual passport, they are entered into a quarterly giveaway. Virtual Bingo participants are given a second entry into the drawing if they check off 20 sites.
In addition to the county Bingo Pass, a new “Explore Clay’s Big PASSions passport” is another way for citizens to get out and visit locations in the county. It is a deals-centered passport that provides local businesses an opportunity to market their own discounts and deals to visitors, or anyone else who wants to explore Clay County.
“The PASSion behind this pass is the passion we feel for our local businesses and the unique experiences they offer,” Morgan said. “It’s a way for local businesses to deliver the brand promise of Small Towns. Big Passions.”
Since the launch of the passport programs in June 2021, there have been approximately 222 people who participated in the Clay County History Bingo passport and the Explore Clay’s Big PASSions passport.
Participants are from the following states: Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Utah, Tennessee, California, New York, Alabama, Indiana, and Colorado, Morgan said.
“The majority of the participants are coming from the surrounding drive market of our destination,” Morgan said. “We are working on new passport programs now.”
If any Clay County tourism-related business wants to participate in the free marketing program, they can email the Tourism Department at Kimberly.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.