Articles about SF Treasure Hunt events | San Francisco Treasure Hunts



Jayson Wechter: Private eye/planner finds clues for a living

by Carrie Kirby, Chronicle Staff Writer (Oct 29, 2003)

In a crowd in North Beach or Chinatown, Jayson Wechter stands out. Not because of his looks -- with longish, graying, curly hair and a beard, he looks like your average mild-mannered professor. But he's the one who keeps stopping to peer into open manholes, to read the engraving at the base of a lamppost or to rifle through old books and other discarded items lying around.

" The theme of my life has been curiosity," said the 51-year-old, who has parlayed that theme into careers as a journalist, a private detective and now as a planner of treasure hunts for team-building events.

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Clue: Those Who Seek Through a Parade in the Rain; The 13th annual Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is full of intrigue and a dose of silliness.
Carol Pogash. The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Feb 17, 2003. pg. B.

Participating in the 13th annual Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, which is not connected to the parade, troves of treasure hunters tried to solve historical, literary, film and political clues asnight fell and a rainstorm soaked them down to their sneakers.

Ariel Prestosa and friends brandished walkie-talkies with headsets so they could discuss clues without worrying about snooping competitors. The group took the hunt seriously ...

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Amateur Gumshoes in San Francisco
by Christopher Hall, New York Times (Jan. 12, 2003)

The spirit of Sam Spade is alive and well in San Francisco.

An expected 1,800 amateur sleuths will pound shoe leather around the city's nighttime streets on Feb. 15 during the San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. The city's colorful Chinese New Year Parade, with its 200-foot dragon and cacophony of drums and firecrackers, will serve as a spectacular backdrop...
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Best One-Night Stand in Chinatown
SF Bay Guardian, Best of the Bay 2002

The rivals meet in some of Chinatown's most shadowy alleys, clutching lists of arcane clues and seeking the symbols that will send them on their way. They've paid $30 each for the privilege of running at least five miles up and down the hills of Chinatown and North Beach. And if they beat their competitors, their reward is merely glory and champagne. What could convince thousands of people each year to undertake such an ordeal? The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, of course...

Treasure in the Streets
Jill Meyers, Sunset Magazine

While fireworks pop and the rioutous Chinese New Year Parade snakes down San Francisco streets, teams of treasure hunters are on the case. They prowl through Chinatown, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill, testing their wits against clues based on local history and geography - and receiving a marvelous tour of the city's landmarks...

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Leader of the Hunt
by Rick Polito, Marin Independent Journal

Jayson Wechter loves a mystery.

But he loves giving other people a night of mystery even more...

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Education only gets you so far at the Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt
By Stephanie Rosenbaum, SF Bay Guardian

'I NEVER MET a pun I didn't like." If you want to win Jayson Wechter's annual Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt, remember that phrase. It might well be Wechter's mantra. See, what Wechter likes best -- besides puns, the more wincingly terrible the better -- is old San Francisco history, odd little alleyways, murals and signs and bits of street art. Oh, and cats, of course. All these tastes come together in the treasure hunt's clues, which this year sent over 600 people racing up and down Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, North Beach, and the Financial District seeking out the meaning of such phrases as "A large gray building is a House but not a home, and has a Place that's all its own. Positively odd, isn't it?"

Dodging the Dragon: City’s treasure hunt coincides with New Year parade
By Ann Crump, Hearst Examiner (Jan 2001)

Each year, during San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s Parade, ordinary citizens act out their Indiana Jones fantasies on the streets of Chinatown, North Beach, the Financial District and Telegraph Hill. They are the participants in the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, devised by local private eye Jayson Wechter...

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from The House of Tudor
By Silke Tudor, SF Weekly

Last year, I went on the "Great San Francisco Treasure Hunt," an event created by private eye Jayson Wechter that sends hundreds of wannabe sleuths through the streets of San Francisco in search of brain-teasing clues. The treasure hunts were originally played only among Wechter's friends, but they have grown to the point of being the best way for anyone to rediscover his town. The "Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt" has the added bonus of being held in the dark of night, set against a landscape of dragons and fireworks...

from Another plan to change everything
By Jon Carroll, SF Chronicle

Once again this year, covert cultural ornament Jayson Wechter is running the San Francisco Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt, an annual frolic of madness involving clues, triumph, despair, walking and competitive fervor.

There are three levels of competition, so beginners do not have to vie with crusty old-comers. Benefits include a tour of the secret San Francisco, including alleys you never knew existed and hills you never thought you'd climb. It's amazing. The date is Feb. 23; the tickets are $28 per person, with proceeds going to Hamilton Family Center. For tickets and info, visit the Web site at


The Hunt is On!
By Sura Wood, San Francisco Arts Monthly, February 2001

Amateur gumshoes—here’s a chance to hone your detective skills. Just put on your trench coats and thinking caps and head out to the annual Chinese New Year’s Treasure Hunt. Now in its 10th year, this event offers a chance to travel the city's hidden pathways with a packet full of clues and a mystery to solve. You don’t need an arcane knowledge of old San Francisco, a top-notch sense of direction or map-reading ability—but they wouldn’t hurt...

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Events, SF Chronicle
By David Wiegand

... join a four-hour exploration of the city's hidden treasures with Jayson Wechter's annual Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt, which benefits the Hamilton Family Center homeless shelter. Against the backdrop of Chinese New Year, participants will seek out obscure landmarks and forgotten architectural highlights as they try to solve a series of puzzles created by private-eye Wechter...

Jayson Wechter's Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt
By Mark Tanaka

Although I'm going on my fourth year in San Francisco, I have never actually stood on a street in Chinatown to watch the annual Chinese New Year's parade. Last year I was forced to watch for several minutes, trapped in a stagnant, unyielding throng of people and baby carriages, on Columbus between Pacific and Jackson.It was pure, unbearable torture.It's not that I hate parades. It was just that my five teammates and I still had nine more clues to crack, while the clock was ticking. In a field of over 100 teams in the annual Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt, every minute could count...


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