'Rolling with the Gnomies' is a new winter activity for anyone to take part in, created by the Weyburn Arts Council to add some fun and adventure for Weyburn residents, as well as for the gnomes, who each have their own unique characteristics.

Whoever finds the gnomes moves them to a new location, and then shares pictures in the Facebook group.

The pure fun originated when Regan Lanning, Arts Coordinator with the Weyburn Arts Council (WAC), took a lunchtime webinar offered by Southeast District on winter programming. 

"I'm not a winter person. I hate the cold, so like I don't tend to naturally think of programming outside the gallery, in the winter. Simply because I don't enjoy winter," she explained. "So, I took this thinking this could help me develop skills that I don't already have, and there was an idea put forth at this meeting of kind of doing a town scavenger hunt. And that's where the genesis, the kernel of the idea came from, and then I took it to the next Arts Council meeting, and we ran with it from there."

She said the gnome idea, specifically, was the result of their initial brainstorming session. Then members of WAC created the gnomes.

"It was something that is a relatively easy project that people who aren't potters can catch on to and make very easily," she noted. "So we really liked the idea of the gnomes. They're cute and they're colourful." 

Each gnome has its own unique character.

"You can create actual identities for them, that people that are finding them can relate to, and then it's actually a gnome traveling, rather than just taking an object and moving it place to place," said Arts Council Chair, Tasha Hill.

Lanning noted the gnomes are durable.

"It's not fragile and it's not going to absorb liquid, so it's not susceptible to like the freeze and the thaw aspect of it, it's pretty winter-hardy," said Lanning.

"We started with Wilfred. He's blue and has a mushroom. He's a 'fun guy'," she smiled. "Then there was Tallulah and then Winston, and then Francis, then Valentina, then Delilah, then Helga went out. There are probably another 10, I would say, that still have yet to go. We've been releasing them every couple of days." 

"They get a lot of movement throughout the day, and people post their pictures on our Facebook group and you can track where they are and try to guess from the clues how to find them," she explained. "They get a lot of miles in a day, they're definitely roamin'. They put on a lot of movement. I would say there are at least four or five movements throughout the day of the various gnomes." 

Lanning said they had envisioned it as being something that kids would enjoy doing and maybe families could do. 

"But it's not just families, it's full-grown adults out there, hunting gnomes, and moving them around, and it is so much fun."

She said anyone who wants to take part in the 'roaming gnoming' can join the Facebook group. Each gnome has its name written on the bottom, along with instructions for how to play the game.

There are talks about retiring the gnomes in their own little community for summer, but first, they'll see how much adventure can be had for their gnomes during the cold seasons. 

"It's been successful so far, but until we conclude, we don't know what we're going to do for our second iteration," Lanning shared. "We might make a whole new generation of gnomes, and release them onto the Weyburn streets next February."

She said the winter months need this kind of brightening, especially for those who don't typically participate in winter activities.

"I think, for a lot of people with those February Blues, it's a little you know boost of dopamine. Something to look forward to, something to brighten the streets that are usually slushy and icy," she said. "It's something we kind of designed to get people out of their homes and give them something to look for and hopefully rediscover our community."

"It's all 100 percent fun and lighthearted, and it is a joy every day when I get a notification from rolling with the gnomies. I'm so excited to see where they've gone next, and the community is really being creative with where they're hiding things and how they're describing them." 

The group membership is climbing daily. 

Hill added that she personally has been getting private messages thanking WAC for putting out the gnomes.

"It is so much fun and doesn't cost anything. There's no entry fee. Families or individuals can just go out and find one or continue to find all of them, and it's just basically whatever you want to make the event."

Find the Facebook group HERE.

azi gnomeA local boy found Winston downtown this afternoon (photo by Marna McManus).