What's a Gumshoe?

Gumshoe In the late 1800’s, shoes with gum rubber soles were invented. Bad guys quickly adopted this new stealth technology to skulk about and, as a consequence, came to be known as “gumshoes.” By 1908, however, the term had morphed into the name for the good guys in the silent footwear who chased the bad guys.

Now Gumshoe refers to the FUNdraising detective walk held every summer in Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods — an annual event that has raised over $38,000 for the Greenwood Senior Center, Greenwood Food Bank and Greenwood Elementary School PTA since it took its first steps (pun intended) in 2005!

To get a flavor for the Gumshoe, click here to see last year's clues and answers, then lace up your sneakers, don your deerstalker and do this year's event!

How to Gumshoe

Step 1: Buy a Gumshoe entry form at one of these locations. They go on sale Friday, July 31.

Ken's Market
7231 Greenwood Ave N
Debit or credit card, cash or check payable to "PNA"
Phinney Center
6532 Phinney Ave N
Credit card, cash or check
316 N 67th St
Cash or check only
Couth Buzzard Books
8310 Greenwood Ave N
Cash or check only

A single entry form is $20, but if you cajole kids, friends, neighbors and innocent bystanders into joining you and buy two or more at the same time, forms are just $15 each. And you make doing the Gumshoe a group bonding experience! Can’t you feel the love?

Step 2: Once you and your accomplices have your entry forms, solve the 30 clues that lead you through the 5 kilometer walk. That’s roughly 3.1 miles of neural exercise, bipedal locomotion and discovering fun and interesting things along the way.

Do the Gumshoe in one day or over several – you’ve got 10 days, including two week-ends, to complete the walk. Experienced Gumshoes report that it takes two to two and a half hours, but if you're one of those people who can't find your car keys when they're in your hand, pack an overnight bag.

Step 3: Return your entry form to Ken's, the PNC, Starbucks or Couth Buzzard by 6 pm Sunday, August 9, and you're entered for the Gumshoe prize drawing and a chance to win one of 10 (count 'em) $100 gift cards to these local businesses:

‎Phinney Market Pub & Eatery
In-Season Fresh Take-Away & Cafe
Red Mill Burgers
Greenwood Hardware
Ken's Market
Phinney Books
Pete's Egg Nest
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
The Olive and Grape
Top Ten Toys

New This Year

You buy your entry form, dillydally and the next thing you know, it’s the last day of the event. “Too late to do the Gumshoe,” you tell yourself, but wait—after all, that’s what you did to get yourself into your predicament—do the Procrastishoe!

Join fellow malingerers at Ken’s at 3 pm Sunday, August 9, to collectively do the walk with the Gumshoe Answer Man following behind and providing hints. It’s an opportunity to salvage your investment—you’ll be done in time to submit your form for the prize drawings—and to mix it up with like-minded procrastinators in a party atmosphere!

To those who think this is cheating, we say “Pshaw!” It’s our event, we make the rules and our goal—besides FUNdraising—is to get everyone to do the walk!

What Else You Need to Know

If you’re a Gumshoe veteran, you’ll notice the Eatsy Street and GumShop “games within the Gumshoe game” have been discontinued. That’s because they were way too labor intensive to organize in addition to the main event, so we said to heck with them.

100% of Gumshoe proceeds go to the senior center, food bank and elementary school PTA, and nobody is paid to help with the event — unless you want to call sharing the proceeds "payment" to the volunteers from the recipient organizations who do some of the Gumshoe grunt work.

While the Gumshoe is a FUNdraiser, it's also about connecting people to the neighborhood and building community. It's amazing what you discover when you walk and pay attention, and the event wouldn't happen without some pretty amazing individual and business support!

Want to know more? Email the Gumshoe Answer Man.