BY ANNE MARIE SMIT
Since 2016, the Monroe County History Center has set aside a day to celebrate puzzles as part of International Puzzle Day. Bloomington’s Puzzle Fest is a collaboration between the History Center; Indiana University Lilly Library and its Curator of Puzzles, Andrew Rhoda; and Marc Tschida, owner of Press Puzzles. This year, Puzzle Fest will be held on January 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the History Center, 202 E. 6th St. Admission is free.
History Center Education Manager Andrea Hadsell says Puzzle Fest is a way for members of the community to enjoy the History Center in a fun way.
“Sometimes you want to have academic lectures, teaching people about specific moments in history,” Hadsell says of the History Center’s mission. “Sometimes, though, you just want to have fun days where families can spend time together out of the cold.”
Puzzle Fest is a celebration of all kinds of puzzles—jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, mechanical puzzles, number puzzles, and more. Those attending will find Sudoku printouts, quick puzzles, a puzzle sale and swap, and family friendly puzzle crafts, as well as discussions related
The focal point of Puzzle Fest is a day-long competition in which teams of four people race to assemble a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Puzzle Fest founder Jennifer Borland will judge the competition, as she has for the past three years, with help from History Center staff and volunteers. Space is limited to 12 teams. Cost of registration is $60. The event raises funds for educational programming at the History Center.
“When you have an event that you originally started to get people in the door and give them a place to have some fun, and then you actually see them having fun, you know it’s successful,” Hadsell says.