It's not every day that you spot a mythical creature in your hometown, but the Weyburn Arts Council is aiming to bring a little extra whimsy to our Winter landscape by stashing custom gnomes around the community for residents to discover. These sneaky little statues are making their return after a joyous season last year, with preparations for their February release already underway.
"The Weyburn Arts Council got together last night, and we created about 20 clay gnomes. Once those are fired and ready to go, we will start releasing them one at a time into the wilds of Weyburn for the community members to hide and seek," shared Regan Lanning, City Curator for the Weyburn Art Gallery.
To take part in the search, 'Gnomies' will need to keep a close eye on the special Facebook Page for clues to assist in tracking down the elusive figurines. The catch and release game will take place there, with posts from the Arts Council and participants keeping things rolling. Regan Lanning explained how we can expect the game to be conducted day to day.
"We have a Facebook group called 'Rolling with the Gnomies' where we will be posting introductory posts for each of the gnomes. They will all have names and back stories. So, they're kind of collectible like Pokémon, except you don't collect them, you re-release them," said Lanning. "Once you find a gnome, you re-hide it and take a picture of the gnome and post it to our Facebook page with a little hint as to where our community may find them!"
The idea for hiding and seeking gnomes came last year and was originally intended as a way for parents to help get their kids out of the house during the bleak mid-winter months. Surprisingly, a wide range of residents caught the gnome-fever and couldn't help but join in as well. Lanning shared that there will be a few more gnomes this year, and that all participants are welcome once again.
"There will be about 20 gnomes in all," she confirmed. "We expect that we'll be releasing one or two a week, and it is just so much fun. Last year we had 17 gnomes roaming around Weyburn. We expected at the start of this program that it would be families with little kids looking for the gnomes, and instead we had 50 year old men out braving the winter, looking for gnomes and hiding them. It was such a fun program that we decided to bring it back for another year!"
Something new to look forward to is the introduction of an ultra-rare gnome that is sure to be the object of focus for the entire community. The new gnome, said Lanning, is part of a fun collaboration with one of Weyburn's favorite social media gurus.
"We partnered with Big Jim's Brew Shop this year," she revealed. "They have such a fun social media and we just thought that their vibe really fit with ours, so I will be creating a Medium Todd gnome. If you don't know who Medium Todd is, he is the owner of Big Jim's, so that will be a special gnome. You'll have to follow Big Jim's Brew shop to find out why that gnome is special, though!"
It is important to remind participants that the intention is for gnomes to be re-hidden once found, and not taken home. Without gnomes being left to freely roam, the game cannot continue. Last year, only 3 gnomes remained of the original 17, even after a 'bounty' was placed on them with the reward of Leisure Passes to entice their return. Those who may still be harboring gnomes from last year can still return them to participate in the next rounds of hide-and-seek, with the promise of a Leisure Pass and "no questions asked" coming from Regan Lanning.