Lincoln City lets visitors play 'Finders Keepers' with colorful treasures

For anyone who has ever dreamed of finding treasure on the beach, one Oregon coast town is turning that childhood fan...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 12:55 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 12:55 PM

For anyone who has ever dreamed of finding treasure on the beach, one Oregon coast town is turning that childhood fantasy into a reality for thousands of people every year.

As though they needed an excuse to visit the Oregon coast, beachcombers flock to Lincoln City in search of colorful glass floats.

Everyone from locals to international visitors have their eyes peeled for the colorful glass globes hidden among the seagulls, driftwood and beach grass.

Some of these works of art can fit in the palm of one's hand while others are much bigger, and all of them can be found on a seven-mile stretch of beach from Roads End to Siletz Bay.

Melanie Winn was visiting the coast from Montreal when she made her discovery.

"I've been out at the beach since Friday looking for floats, and I finally found one Saturday during the day. It was a 2018, so it was a special one for New Year's Eve." Winn said. "It's my first time here, so it was pretty fun to go treasure hunting and seeing all the people on the beach trying to find the floats. It's really cool."

Not all of the floats go that far away, though. Many locals who visit the beach stumble upon the bright globes during their daily routines.

"I come out here to do everything - fish, crab, walk my dog - but yeah, a lot of it is for floats," Depoe Bay resident Bob Anderson told FOX 12, adding that his four-legged friend was not much help on the treasure hunt. "The first one I found, I put in his bed hoping he'd get the scent, but that didn't help at all."

City officials said they didn't start the "Finders Keepers" float hunt on a whim. The tradition actually goes back years along the West Coast.

"In days gone by, people used to come out here and hunt for those antique Japanese floats that would snag off the lines and wash up on our shores," Eric Johnson with the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau explained.

Each year the city hides officially numbered floats corresponding to the year, so this year 2018 floats will be hidden through Memorial Day.

Those lucky enough to find a numbered float get a certificate and a signed note from an artist like Lincoln City resident Kelly Howard.

"I really love making them because I can experiment with color, and it's just sphere and you can keep changing it and changing it. So much potential," Howard said.

City officials said they also do drops for special occasions, and while these floats are unnumbered and unofficial, they are still special. The next special drops are coming up in February with Antique Week and Valentine's Day.

One tip offered by some of the veteran searchers is to pick up trash while walking the beach. Even if someone doesn't find a float they can turn the bag of trash into the Visitors' Bureau to be entered to win one.

To learn more about the Finders Keepers program, head to OregonCoast.org.

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