Glass Quest: Search for treasure on Camano Island

Camano Island Chamber of Commerce

To understand what it took to create the 440 limited-edition glass floats that will be given away during the 11th annual Great Northwest Glass Quest happening Feb. 14-23 throughout Camano Island and Stanwood, consider the hard work and creativity longtime glassblowers Mark A. Ellinger and his son Marcus put into each piece of art.

Gathering molten glass out of a furnace that runs continuously at 2,000 degrees is the first step in a time-consuming process that results in colorful, one-of-a-kind spheres known not only for their unique hues and textures, but also for their inspiration—the intrinsic beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

“Nature provides an endless pallet of color and form that lends itself to the nature of glass in its molten state,” Mark says. “The breeze of a sunny day, the ebb and flow of a tide; glass captures the movement of creation and freezes it.”

Those who choose to become “Questers” during the Camano Island Chamber of Commerce’s perennially popular treasure hunt will likely encounter some of what animates the artists when they begin searching for the clear, plastic three-inch “clue balls,” many of which will be hidden outdoors at Freedom Park, Cama Beach State Park, Camano Island State Park, Heritage Park, Wenberg County Park, and beyond.

Even if you don’t uncover a clue that can be exchanged for one of the limited-edition glass balls, you’ll still be assured of a scenic stroll at a local landmark. 

Clue balls will also be hidden at a variety of participating businesses. To get started on your chase, pick up a guide at any of those locales, or download a copy online or on the Glass Quest app. All will tell you where to look for the clues, which, when found, can be swapped for the one of the stamped and signed floats.

When you’re in the venues, organizers ask that you abide by the store’s rules. Other tips include enjoying the thrill of the hunt by not asking “Has it been found today?” and using your eyes only to search for your quarry (in other words, don’t mess with the merchandise). If you haven’t found the clue within 15-20 minutes, don’t linger. It’s a 10-day event, so you can always come back the following day and try again.

For those lucky enough to score the works of art, please limit your booty to one to give everyone else a chance at finding their own prizes. And if you don’t end up uncovering a clue, an online drawing will be held each day for one of the limited-edition Glass Quest balls. Check in on days you’re questing, and cross your fingers. Handing in a completed “passport” will also enter you into the drawing.

That stamped booklet will also come in handy if you seek but don’t find one of the fine art floats, as non-limited-edition balls will be sold at a discount for those who do so ($50 instead of $65). You won’t go home without a treasure, and you’ll have still have plenty of fond memories of your quest.

WHAT: Great Northwest Glass Quest
WHEN: Feb. 14-23
WHERE: Throughout Camano Island and Stanwood
COST: Questing is free!

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