The coast is about to get colorful as Finders Keepers, glass floats on the beach in Lincoln City, begins in October. This is the 19th year of the signature promotion, which runs October 14th, 2017 through Memorial Day 2018.
New to this year’s Finders Keepers season is The Hot Shop. Located in Newport, The Hot Shop is the creative outlet for artist Jeff Hajek, who is stoked to be selected as one of the official glass blowers.
“I always knew about Finders Keepers as a glass blower,” says Hajek. “When I was finally able to open my own studio, The Hot Shop, I was really excited to be selected as one of the featured artists.”
Hajek’s floats are quite distinctive, which visitors will enjoy hunting. “I like to mix things up when it comes to patterns and colors. Unlike other art mediums, transparency is key to glass blowing. How natural light reflects through the glass is dependent on what colors and patterns you choose. For my Finders Keepers glass floats, I decided to go with ocean colors like blues and greens. If somebody finds one, hold it up to the sunlight and watch the colors shine through.”
Asking Hajek what he looks most forward to with Finders Keepers, he says it is interacting with the people who find his floats. “I hope that they love the floats. I am a very outgoing person and enjoy interacting with the folks who visit my studio. If someone finds one of my floats, I encourage them to visit The Hot Shop and learn more about glass blowing. It’s a mystical craft that has been around for thousands of years.”
2,018 officially numbered glass floats will be carefully hidden along the 7-½ miles of pristine beach in Lincoln City, from Roads End on the north side of town to Siletz Bay on the south end. Floats can be found above the high tide line and below the beach embankment, and are always hidden during daylight hours. If you find a glass float…you keep it!
As if daily float drops weren’t enough, keep an eye out for special glass art drops throughout the next several months, which will boost the total count for this season to over 3,000. These special drops will include a combination of unnumbered glass floats, antique Japanese glass floats, sand dollars, crabs, starfish, and holiday-themed floats. For a schedule of upcoming drops visit www.oregoncoast.org/glass-floats.
On opening weekend, October 14th and 15th, an extra 100 glass floats will be carefully placed on the beach to kick off the season. In addition, a jumbo float will be hidden with a prize package attached. Find the jumbo float, and take home a weekend getaway courtesy of Lincoln City. The weekend getaway includes lodging, restaurant certificates, and a certificate to blow your own glass float.
Share your glass treasure discoveries on Lincoln City’s social media channels. Post a photo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LincolnCityOregon, on Instagram or Twitter @LincolnCityOR.
The official handcrafted Finders Keepers glass floats will be signed and numbered, and when they are found, they become collector’s items. Register your glass treasure and you will receive a certificate of authenticity and a biography of the artist who created the float. To register your float, call 541-996-1274, visit OregonCoast.org, or text FLOATS to 24587. You can also bring your discovered treasure to the Visitor Information Center at 540 NE Hwy 101 in Lincoln City. If you have limited mobility or are unable to walk on the beach due to disability, stop by and fill out an entry form for a chance to win a glass float.
Finders Keepers began in 1999, when a local artist first thought of glass floats as an intriguing way to launch the new millennium. Lincoln City sponsored the project, hosting the inaugural season in 1999-2000. Each year, tourists continue to come from around the country to search for their own brightly colored, signed and numbered glass float.
In days gone by, visitors searching Oregon’s beaches often found treasures from the far-east: blown glass floats in intriguing shades of green and blue. Used by Japanese fishermen to float their nets, these spheres were as small as two inches or as large as two feet. They were collected, polished, and admired; the ultimate find for any dedicated beachcomber. Today fishing vessels around the world use buoyant plastic, making glass floats a rare find – except in Lincoln City where these treasures can be found every October through May during the Finders Keepers season.
For more information about Finders Keepers, please visit OregonCoast.org or call 541-996-1274.