Joyce Buckland (l) and Phyllis Rainey with the prizes for the 2020 Easter Scavenger Hunt in Ashcroft. A second hunt is being planned for this Easter, and the organizers are looking for people willing to decorate their houses as part of the fun. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Joyce Buckland (l) and Phyllis Rainey with the prizes for the 2020 Easter Scavenger Hunt in Ashcroft. A second hunt is being planned for this Easter, and the organizers are looking for people willing to decorate their houses as part of the fun. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Ashcroft Easter scavenger hunt coming back bigger and better

Fun, physically distanced event is open to everyone to take part in at their own pace

Everyone who enjoyed the Easter Scavenger Hunt in Ashcroft last year should get ready, because the organizers are planning another hunt for this year, which they hope will be bigger and better than ever. In order to make that happen, however, they are looking for people willing to decorate their homes or businesses for a great cause.

In spring 2020, as the pandemic shut down most things and social activities were either cancelled or severely curtailed, Joyce Buckland and Phyllis Rainey of the Family Friends Group were trying to think of a fun activity that was suitable for the whole family but which could be carried out in a safe, physically distanced way. They came up with an Easter Scavenger Hunt that would take participants all over Ashcroft in search of specially decorated homes and businesses, but in a way that kept everyone safe.

Prizes were awarded, and all of the more than 100 people and groups that took part received something. Buckland says that planning has started for this year’s hunt, and she is putting the call out for even more businesses and homes to take part.

“Last year we had five specially decorated homes or businesses in each of Ashcroft’s three areas,” she explains. Participating places in North Ashcroft, downtown, and on the Mesa agreed to put up special decorations or displays, and clues were printed on an entry form. Participants could then, at their leisure, explore each neighbourhood, give the location of as many places as they could find, and then drop the forms off.

“We’re hoping to have 10 places in each area this year,” says Buckland. “Almost everyone who participated last year is willing to participate again, but we’re looking for more people. If you have an idea for decorating your yard, call me.”

Last year there were houses decorated for Halloween and Christmas, houses with hearts, flamingos, and umbrellas, and a sports-minded participant who used hockey as a theme. “If people don’t have an idea, I have a long list of suggestions,” says Buckland.

“It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just something easy to do with stuff you have around the house. You can do sports, and we’re encouraging people to do holidays. Halloween, Christmas, and Canada Day are taken, but we don’t have St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day. If you want to take part, let us know; a lot of the ideas will go fast.”

It isn’t just homeowners who can take part; downtown businesses are also encouraged to participate, and Buckland says she hopes a lot of them will put something up.

Displays need to be clearly visible from the road. “We’re encouraging people to walk and bike around,” explains Buckland. “It’s taking place during spring break, so we’re hoping people will get out with their kids and go for a walk around. They might walk their own neighbourhood, and then drive to the other areas.”

Once the organizers have all the participating properties lined up, they will print up an entry form with instructions and the clues. The forms will be available for pick-up at different locations around town that are yet to be determined, and will also be available online so people can print their own. The actual hunt will take place between March 19 and March 30, with participants able to do it at their leisure.

Buckland adds that hunters do not have to find every address; they simply have to identify 10 in total. By having 10 locations in each neighbourhood, it means that people don’t have to venture too far afield if they don’t want to. “If you live in North Ashcroft and can’t get to the Mesa you don’t have to worry about those ones. As long as you get your 10, you’re great.”

The Village of Ashcroft is once again providing a season-long family pool pass for the Ashcroft pool as a grand prize, as well as funding for other prizes. The South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society is also providing funding, and the Family Friends Group is raising money via an online auction.

Completed forms can be dropped off at any time up to March 30 in the white lockbox outside the Journal office on 4th Street (across from the post office). The hunt is open to people of all ages, with Buckland saying it isn’t just for kids.

“Last year we had five older couples who went out, so we put their names in a separate prize draw, and they were thrilled. You don’t need kids to have fun. But first we need to get all the places sorted out so we can move on with the next steps.”

Anyone who would like to take part by decorating their home or business can contact Buckland at (250) 457-0265 to volunteer and (if necessary) get some suggestions about possible themes or ideas.

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