A new contest will offer prizes for exploring what the Great Miami River offers

Starting May 4, people will be visiting cities up and down the Great Miami River for fun and prizes — including the world’s first floating “shoal tent” that sells for $2,000, and a high-end bicycle, among others.

The more locations a person visits at 10 participating cities along the river, and scans into a smart phone, the more times that person will be registered for chances to win prizes. The big prizes will be distributed after March 1, 2020, with some smaller ones given throughout the year.

There will be about 100 locations. The participating cities are Sidney, Piqua, Troy, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton. People should visit at least seven of the 10 locations that are offered at each city to win a prize.

The program is called “Tour de Way.” The floating tent is created by SmithFly, located in Troy. A bicycle, a seven-speed Opus Classico 2, is coming from Spoken Bicycles in Middletown.

“There’s 10 locations in each community,” said Elizabeth Connor of the Great Miami Riverway project, which promotes a 99-mile stretch of the river from Sidney to Hamilton. “And it’s everything from, ‘Let’s go paddle down a certain section of river, to attend a certain event in a community, to going to a museum.’

“It’s really something for everybody. We tried to keep most of it free, so purchases really aren’t necessarily required.”

For every location at which a person scans the QR code into their phone, “you’re entered for a chance to win,” Connor said. It’s not a scavenger hunt, and the QR codes will be easily found at each location, she said.

Among locations that will be part of the program in Hamilton are the Fitton Center for Creative Arts and several new businesses, including A Game Knight, a tavern with hundreds of games. In Middletown, offerings include any of the Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area businesses and Spoken Bicycles.

“I think the Tour de Way program is really indicative of a first, very tangible step in developing programming to encourage people to visit not just Hamilton, but the Riverway as a whole,” said Jacob Stone-Welch, Hamilton’s liaison to the Riverway. “It’s going to be something that’s going to showcase not only our community, but every community along the stretch.”

Organizers emphasize it is not a race. Instead, people have 10 months to complete the visits.

The Tour de Way is similar in some ways to Butler County’s Donut Trail, where people who visit every donut creator on the list and have them entered on their “donut passport” win a T-shirt. That program started in January 2016.

“We’re almost to 18,000 people who have completed it,” said Tracy Kocher, director of marketing for the Butler County Visitors Bureau.

Visitors have participated “from all 50 states and 21 countries,” Kocher said. T-shirts change every year, with the 2019 shirt being the fourth one.

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