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updated: 6/27/2014 9:45 AM

Pedestrians search for hidden money in downtown Wheaton

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  • Jude and Alicia Aulie search for an envelope Thursday near the corner of Front Street and Wheaton Avenue in downtown Wheaton. The Downtown Wheaton Association and Ivy restaurant sponsored a "hidden cash dash" by hiding six envelopes filled with $40 cash and a $10 Downtown Wheaton gift certificate.

       Jude and Alicia Aulie search for an envelope Thursday near the corner of Front Street and Wheaton Avenue in downtown Wheaton. The Downtown Wheaton Association and Ivy restaurant sponsored a "hidden cash dash" by hiding six envelopes filled with $40 cash and a $10 Downtown Wheaton gift certificate.
    Jessica Cilella | Staff Photographer

  • Hilary Dyer searches for an envelope in front of the Wheaton Drama Playhouse. The Downtown Wheaton Association and Ivy restaurant sponsored a "hidden cash dash" Thursday by hiding six envelopes with $40 cash and a $10 downtown Wheaton gift certificate.

       Hilary Dyer searches for an envelope in front of the Wheaton Drama Playhouse. The Downtown Wheaton Association and Ivy restaurant sponsored a "hidden cash dash" Thursday by hiding six envelopes with $40 cash and a $10 downtown Wheaton gift certificate.
    Jessica Cilella | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Hidden cash dash in Wheaton

 
 

Several pedestrians strolling the streets of downtown Wheaton Thursday weren't just enjoying the warm, sunny weather.

They were on the hunt for six hidden envelopes labeled with the Downtown Wheaton Association logo. Each was filled with a pleasant surprise: $40 cash and a $10 Downtown Wheaton gift card.

"It's something that's fun and it's a nice way to say thank you to our patrons," said Downtown Wheaton Association Executive Director Paula Barrington.

The association's new "Hidden Cash Dash" was initiated with a note sent Thursday morning to people on its email list.

Barrington said Ivy restaurant owner Dick O'Gorman approached her with the idea, which was inspired by hidden cash events that have recently been held throughout the country.

O'Gorman donated the money for the envelopes and the association decided to inform people about the cash dash at random on a Thursday morning.

"We've hidden (the envelopes) throughout downtown Wheaton, along the sidewalk area," Barrington said. "Not inside stores, not anywhere that it would be unsafe for someone to access, but places that we thought might also be a little challenging for people to find the envelopes."

The email included six clues hinting at the six different street locations where the envelopes were hidden.

Five of the six were found by late Thursday afternoon, Barrington said. Some of the clues included "Holy Cow!" for one near Holstein's Garage and "Pump up your wallet!" for one near Midwest Cyclery.

Alicia Aulie, who used to work at Ivy, said she ran into O'Gorman while going to lunch with her husband, Jude, in downtown Wheaton.

O'Gorman asked if Aulie had checked her email yet and she said no.

"I opened up the email and thought I'd give it a try," she said of the hidden cash dash.

As Jude searched through a planter at the corner of Wheaton Avenue and Front Street, Alicia said they were determined to find an envelope and would be heading further west, since one of the clues was "Go west, young man."

"We're about to go on our honeymoon so a little cash wouldn't hurt," Jude said with a smile.

Barrington said as of late Thursday afternoon, the "Go west, young man" envelope was the only one left. A new clue for that envelope will be posted before noon Friday at downtownwheaton.com.

Ivy employee Hilary Dyer was also on the hunt for an envelope. She took a quick break from waiting tables to wander across the street to the Wheaton Drama Playhouse.

Dyer said she had just realized that maybe an envelope was hidden in front of the playhouse, since one of the clues was "It's a mod, mod world" and there was a sign hanging up advertising the theater's upcoming production, "Mad Mid-Mod Musicals."

"(My co-workers are) probably all laughing at me right now because they know where it is," she said as she searched through the landscaping.

But after a few minutes of searching with no luck, Dyer had to return to work.

"I'm going to be so mad if someone else finds it," she said.

Barrington said AlphaGraphics employee Gary Thompson was working on a special printing job for the musicals when he realized where the "It's a mod, mod world" envelope might be hidden. He found it taped to the side of the Wheaton drama building before Dyer.

Anyone who finds an envelope is asked to take a "selfie" photo that will be posted on the association's website, along with their name, town and where they found the envelope. The association is still waiting to hear from three winners.

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