Teammates whispered answers to one another and quietly debated questions during the 15-minute challenge, taking care to hide answers from passersby.
The excitement for the competition was more a product of the value of the fundraiser than anything else, Smith said.
“This is pure enjoyment,” he said.
The 30 participating teams were the most for the event, with the Crescenta Valley Arts Council earning the top score of 52 out of 68.
Each attendee paid $30 to attend the luncheon and participate in the game and silent auction, which included a voucher for a two-night hotel stay through Montrose Travel and a lunch appointment with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
“Without this, we wouldn’t be able to give out the grants that we’ve been doing,” said Jean Maluccio, president of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce and one of the event organizers.
The Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce Educational Endowment began after Mary Pinola and other community members realized they had been repeating annual collections to help schools, libraries, nonprofits and other organizations, without gaining any ground from year to year, Pinola said.
“We would keep raising money for programs in the community and the money would be spent and gone,” she said.
Pinola and other members of the chamber opted to start the endowment in 1988 with $1,200, a sum that has swelled to more than $150,000 today, she said. The fund is administered by the Community Foundation of the Verdugos, which has helped distribute a total of more than $54,000 since the endowment was established.
The endowment has grown purely through community collaboration, most of which has occurred at the Smart-A-Thon events, she said.
“It helps us continue to build our fund and to do even more for educational programs,” she said.