The elves have gone missing in downtown Pittsburgh; here’s how you can help find them

PITTSBURGH — Where have all the good elves gone in Pittsburgh?

Loosely based on the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tradition, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has launched a new initiative called the ‘Downtown Elf Hunt.’

The initiative strives to encourage people to visit and shop from participating stores throughout Downtown Pittsburgh.

So, how does it work? While you are shopping at small businesses in the area, you may spot an elf or two. You can scan their QR codes for entries to a contest that can result in big prizes.

On Small Business Saturday, the grand prize is $1000 in restaurant gift cards, with subsequent weekends offering $500 to the winning hunter.

As an additional incentive to shop during the experience, visitors who make a minimum required purchase will also receive a bonus ‘mystery’ gift card to a Downtown restaurant that is valued between $10 and $50 while supplies last.

The first ‘Elf Hunt’ takes place on Small Business Saturday, November 27 with 22 retailers participating. Additional ‘hunting’ will take place on December 4, 11, and 18 with those sneaky elves re-hiding each week.

There will also be free parking at on-street metered spaces in the city on Small Business Saturday.

Dedicated hunters could potentially submit 22 valid entries in one day since each elf represents another entry. The more stores visited, the greater the chances of winning become.

Drawings for the various prize packages will occur each week, with winners being notified by phone and by email.

Shoppers who visit on Small Business Saturday can receive a free tote bag from the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in Market Square starting at 11 a.m., while supplies last.

For a full map, rules, and participating stores, click here.