“Finders Keepers” Glass Float scavenger hunt event resumes along Oregon’s Lincoln City Beaches.
Glass floats will be be placed along Oregon’s beaches in Lincoln City from October 15th until Memorial Day Weekend, offering a great opportunity for a beachcombing bonus of hand-crafted glass floats created by local artists. You’ll find them along the seven and a half miles of public beaches in Lincoln City, from the Roads End area to Siletz Bay.
About 3,000 of these floats will be placed along those beaches, but as a tradition that began as a mark of the new millennium, the quantity of “officially numbered” floats dropped along the beaches reflects that particular year. In other words, there will have been 2,016 floats for beachcombers to claim this year following the weekend’s final float drop of 2016.
Glass floats were originally used by Eastern commercial fishermen to float their nets to the surface. Over time, the commercial fishing industry has evolved towards using other materials, however the occasional glass float from a derelict net will still find its way to the Pacific Coast. While the origin of this beachcombing trend lies with the antiquity of these materials, glass artists that operate along the west coast participate in this event in an effort to keep the spirit of the tradition alive.
However, today’s floats are designed more with form in mind than function. Plain, but functional green and cobalt glass floats have since been replaced with a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns, giving each piece its own unique character, further drawing the demand for tourists to happen upon one on their scavenger hunts.
These floats are more art than utility, and the generosity of the artists that submit their pieces is often returned by the perpetual interest in their medium. Participants are encouraged to visit the many galleries along the Pacific Coast, not only to view their collection of artwork for sale, but engage in hands-on participation inside the studio.
Jennifer Sears’ gallery and studio on Highway 101 at the South End of Lincoln City. There you can blow your own floats with the assistance of resident artists between 10am and 6pm. Call ahead at (541)996-2569 to make reservations to blow your own floats. In the video below, artist Kelly Howard instructs a visitor on how to create his own glass float for his 15th birthday.
Below is your guide directly from OregonCoast.org on how to find glass floats, starting with the basic rules of the hunt.
- Floats can be found above the high tide line and below the beach embankment
- Floats are placed on the beach during daylight hours only.
- Floats are hidden throughout the day, not just at one time.
- Floats are out there every day rain or shine. On rare occasions weather and ocean conditions can create unsafe situations, official notice of any cancellations will be made on social media channels and the Oregon Coast website.
When you find an official numbered float, call at 800-452-2151 to register your treasure. You’ll receive a Certificate of Authenticity and information about the artist who crafted your float.
Here are our tips and words of advice for those beachcombers out on the hunt:
- We use the term “hide” loosely, we want our treasures to be found!
- Start your hunt at public beach access points.
- During special drops we place other kinds of glass art, look for sand dollars, sea stars, shells, crars and coins too
- Our Float Fairies hide floats at random times and locations…not even we know.
- If you find an official numbered float, the registration number is located on or near the “button” on the underside.
- Unnumbered floats and glass art pieces cannot be registered.
In addition to the numbered floats, we place extra pieces of glass art on the beaches for holidays and special occasions. Special drops can include a combination of glass floats, sand dollars, crabs, sea stars, shells or coins. Check out the special drop schedule for the 2016-2017 season.
Regarding Trash for Treasures and Glass Float Drawings:
Special drawings are held monthly at the Visitor Center for glass floats. Bring a bag of beach trash to the Visitor Center at 540 NE Hwy 101, and fill out an entry form to win a glass float as part of Trash for Treasures. People with disabilities who prefer not to beachcomb are also eligible to enter and win a monthly float drawing.
About Finders Keepers:
Finders Keepers is one of Lincoln City’s defining events where you can find treasures from Roads End to Siletz Bay. Ever year from mid-October through Memorial Day we drop nearly 3,000 handcrafted glass floats made by local artisans for you to find and keep! An army of “Float Fairies” will covertly travel along seven miles of public beach hiding handcrafted glass floats along their way.
Keep in mind that the participating artists put a lot of energy into making this event happen. Be sure to thank them for their efforts and view their work in participating galleries along the Oregon Coast.
Alder House Glassblowing: Treasure Collupy, Lincoln City, OR
The Edge Art Gallery: Ryan Bledsoe and Amanda Williams, Newport, OR
Fernhill Glass: Claude Kurtz, Astoria, OR
Flanigans Glass Gallery: Brett Flanigan, Lincoln City, OR
Gathering Glass Studio: Keith Gabor, Ashland, OR
Glass Oasis: Paris Birdwell, Otis, OR
Glass Quest: Mark and Marcus Ellinger, Stanwood, WA
Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio: Kelly Howard, Jon Meyers, Daniel Millen, and James Benson, Lincoln City, OR
Oregon Coast Glassworks: William Murphy, Newport, OR
Mor Art: Dan Watts and Maurice Martinez, Lincoln City, OR
Glass Confusion: Marcia Glenn, Lincoln City, OR
OregonCoast.org reminds beachcombers that,
“Floats may be found above the tide line and below the beach embankment. Floats will not be found in or on the cliffs. Please be aware of beach safety. Never turn your back on the ocean! Sneaker waves and the force of the ocean often move logs and can be unsafe. Our fairies do not “drop” the floats on the beaches during storms.”
If you find any while you’re out searching, let us know on our social channels. We would love to feature them!