Can you share what precipitated the turnout?
The club has a "pre-registration" where would-be participants are encouraged to state a commitment to attend so that the club can have enough printed maps at the event. There is no financial transaction, so this process is totally on the honor code, and folks that do sign up can also not attend the event without any penalty.
The event did get a large number of pre-registrations, mostly large group of scouts. So, the large number of people was not unexpected. What was unexpected is that almost all participants showed up at the same time. The event has a window of two hours during which participants can register and start anytime. The bottleneck became the single laptop computer that had to register each SI card being handed out, thus the photo of people waiting on a long queue.
About 20 people or so were not pre-registered, and who were also first-timers in the activity of Orienteering.
A quick survey of how they heard about the event revealed that friends are infectious. I heard it from a friend
was the most common answer. A couple learned it from a bulletin board where a paper flier was posted. Family groups were very common, sometimes a single parent with a young child, that seemed to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Couples or groups of women were the most motivated, as they seemed to stick together, bonded socially by a common goal, and eventually also signed up for the second course offered.
It has been reported for months by the news media that the Great Outdoors
has been re-discovered in this age of COVID-19. Anyone tried to buy a kayak?
. Pennsylvania state parks have experienced a surge in attendance this year.
... and it also helped that the weather was fantastic, with stunning Fall season foliage.