With the weather remaining cold for the foreseeable future, central Illinois residents are heading indoors for trivial pursuits.

Random knowledge is important at trivia nights, which are popping up around the area.

For instance, do you know the first team to win three Super Bowls or how many ridges are on the edge of a dime?

The team was the Pittsburgh Steelers and the dime has 118 ridges.

Gracie’s Bar and Grill in Washington offers a weekly trivia night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays.

“We started doing it last April,” Caron Wilson, who works at Gracie’s, said. “We run drink specials that night with domestic bottles for $1, which adds to the atmosphere.”

The prizes for the winners are appetizers and food specials that people can redeem at the restaurant.

“The nice thing is that people can play it any way they want,” Wilson said. “They can play as individuals, in a group or just as a husband and wife who happen to be there. They are playing for an individual prize, but they can play it however the want.

“It’s been really popular and people really like it.”

Each week there is a special mystery category that is posted on the restaurant’s Facebook before trivia night.

Past mystery categories have included cereal, board games, Disney movies, video games, movie quotes, TV sitcoms and the British version of The Office.

Every Tuesday, Red Rock Bar and Grille in Morton hosts a trivia night starting at 7 p.m.

“Our trivia night is hosted by Gary and Vicki Horn, and they do a great job,” owner Bill Ingold said.

Red Rock’s trivia night costs $1 per person, which goes to Relay for Life.

Contestants can win door prizes and gift certificates for the restaurant are given to the first-and-second-place teams.

On an average night, the teams are made up of six to 10 people, with the restaurant encouraging teams be eight to 10 people at the most.

“We get anywhere from 30 to 60 people on an average night,” Ingold said. “Gary and Vicki do a really good job of hosting. They ask a lot of current event questions about what is going on.

“There are five rounds of five questions per round with some questions having multiple points. They try to keep it relative to what’s going on. For instance, if it’s near Valentine’s Day they might ask questions related to that and if it’s President’s Day then it might be more questions about presidents.”

One local community does the trivia night for more than just fun.

“The Jaycees are a national organization and the primary purpose of our organization is to give back to the community in a fun and offbeat way,” Kimberly Weeks, the President of the Tazewell County Jaycees, said. “Somebody had expressed that trivia nights were an up and coming thing and suggested that we do one. We took that idea and ran with it. It has been a fun, low-key thing to do to raise money.”

The trivia night, which has run for three years, is held at EP’s Timeout in East Peoria at 6:30 p.m. every second Thursday of the month.

The entry fee is $10 per person or $5 for a Jaycees member and the night is made up of teams of two to eight members playing eight rounds with 10 questions each.

The winners get a trophy, which changes hands each month, and a gift card to the restaurant for a denomination that depends on how many members are in a team.

The money raised goes to the Jaycees or a charity stated before the night. Past charities have included the Alzheimer’s Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and Tazewell County Resource Centers.

“We all really like it,” Weeks said. “It’s a pretty simple and fun activity that always raises several hundred dollars for good causes. It has ebbed and flowed throughout the years but participation has been on an upswing recently.”

On the other side of the river, trivia nuts can head to Chillicothe for Castaways Bar and Grill’s weekly trivia night starting at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night.

“We do a lot of random questions,” Amanda Cornell, the owner of Castaways, said. “We do current events in the local news and then some local news. The questions can be about anything, really.”

The weekly event started six months ago and has grown since then.

“We have a lot of repeat customers,” Cornell said. “It seems like once they come, they are hooked. I think a lot of people from Chillicothe just don’t know what it is because there are a lot of places in Peoria that do this but not so many around here.”

 The prizes are free food vouchers and Castaways merchandise with the possibility of larger prizes coming in the future.

“If we start getting busier then we might rework it,” Cornell said. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of teams so we are doing more prizes that are smaller and people seem to like that. If we get bigger then we might start doing bigger prizes.”

 The decision for Cornell to begin a trivia night came from personal experience.

“I had been to some of the ones in Peoria with some of my friends and had a really good time,” Cornell said. “I thought it would be something new to try down here on Tuesday nights when there’s nothing else going on.”

Another restaurant in the area does not have a trivia night, but is actively planning to bring one to its community.

“We plan on going to a couple trivia nights at other places and seeing how that goes and what they do,” Sarah Adkins, who owns the Germantown Grille with her husband Jake, said. “We want to see what works and what doesn’t work, and then do what we think will work best for us.”

Adkins said seeing how many places have trivia nights gave her the idea to start one.

“We are from Pekin and it is big in Pekin,” Adkins said. “We also lived in Knoxville, and it was taking off there. We just kept getting word of mouth hearing from people going to them.

“Ours will be across the board stuff for questions, kind of here, there and everywhere types of things. I would like people to get into it and be competitive but definitely a friendly competition.”

The first trivia night at Germantown Grille is planned for Feb. 21 with no time, prizes or prices set yet.

This was part one in a series of activities to keep busy indoors during the winter. See next week’s edition for part two.