LINCOLN CITY, Ore. – October marks the opening day of glass float season in Lincoln City. That’s the day when tourists could start finding glass floats hidden by float fairies along the seven-and-one-half miles of the city’s public beaches.
Glass has been around since Middle Eastern glassmakers created it thousands of years ago, but Lincoln City takes the cake when it comes to doing something fun with it. Each season local glass artists make more than 2,000 signed and numbered handcrafted floats and every weekend between sometime in October and Memorial Day, float fairies hide about 60 of them somewhere between the high tide line and the base of the bluffs. When someone finds one, it is theirs to keep.
Once a float is found, the new owner may take it to the Visitor and Convention Bureau, 801 SW Highway 101 Suite 401 or the Visitor’s Center at 541 NE Hwy 101 in Lincoln City and not only receive a certificate of authenticity but a biographical sketch of the artist who created it. Sponsored by the Lincoln City Visitor & Convention Bureau, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce, Cap’n Gulls Gift Shop and the Ester Lee Motel, Finders Keepers is now in its 11th year.
Idel Ramsey, who was Lincoln City VCB executive director when the promotion started, remembers it well.
“It was getting closer and closer to the new millennium and friends were asking me how Lincoln City was going to celebrate the coming of the year 2000,” Ramsey said. “I kept saying, I wasn’t sure but we would come up with something. Then Waldport water-color artist Bryan Duncan came up with an idea that in its adapted form, helped put Lincoln City on the map.
“I always thought it was a shame that there wasn’t much that families could find on the beach anymore so when Bryan came up with the idea to seed the ocean with 2,000 glass floats that would wash up on the beach and give people something to find, the idea appealed to me. It began as a cooperative effort between several towns up and down the central coast and though we scratched the idea of putting them in the ocean, we started out with each community having two months promotion time. Eventually, the other communities lost interest and it ended up as a Lincoln City project.
“We started out with 2,000 floats and each year added another one. The whole town worked together on it. Residents would come by with checks for $5 or $10, businesses donated $100 here and there and everybody called their friends and relatives and invited them to come to the beach.
“We sold commemorative posters, held glass art exhibits throughout the city and invited the world to ring in the new millennium by participating in glass exhibits, demonstrations and education seminars. We held the first fund raising Millennium Ball at the Chinook Winds Casino and I look back somewhat fondly on the hours I spent leaning over the balcony railing arranging glass float-laden fish nets from the ceiling while gamers continued their play down below. The late Jennifer Sears (Jennifer L. Sears Glass Art Studio) came up with the name Finders Keepers and the promotion has since become the right thing for Lincoln City.”
For more information, visit www.oregoncoast.org.