ST. ANTHONY, N.L.
Rock painting is taking the town of St. Anthony by storm, bringing out the inner artist and explorer in young and old alike.
Over the past couple of months, residents have been painting and hiding hundreds of rocks all around St. Anthony and area for each other to find.
The idea began as an initiative by St. Anthony librarian Josalyn Elliott.
Elliott, who has been painting rocks for 10 years or more, learned about the activity from a friend back in July.
She did some research online, realizing it was a popular activity all over the world. Soon, she started painting rocks with her family.
Back in August, they placed them around L’Anse aux Meadows, the Norstead Viking Village, St. Lunaire-Griquet and St. Anthony.
Elliott let people know through her Facebook page and slowly people were picking them up.
With some help, she had a Facebook page created, St. Anthony & Area “Rocks”, to promote the activity. On the page, people post pictures of their painted rocks and leave a clue as to where they can be found. When the rocks are found, they’re posted to Facebook.
Participants are encouraged to re-hide or keep the rocks if they wish.
The activity’s popularity has really taken off in recent weeks.
“In the last couple weeks, it seems like it just started growing, growing, growing and it’s just phenomenal,” Elliott told The Northern Pen.
One day last week, she estimated there were 25 to 30 children at Bottom Brook Park looking for rocks.
The St. Anthony and Area Boys and Girls Club has started participating as well, painting rocks and taking the children on outings to hide and find rocks.
Club executive director Carmella Rose told The Northern Pen it’s been keeping the kids active.
Elsie Slade is a St. Anthony grandparent who has been helping out painting some rocks as well.
“The kids are really having a ball with it,” she told The Northern Pen. “They’re wanting to go out and hike around. It’s a positive activity they can do. They’re getting fresh air and doing something exciting.”
Elliott agrees. She’s been happy seeing the kids get outside and to see the smiles on their faces when they make their discoveries.
Since starting, Elliott estimates she’s put out around 250 rocks herself, in the communities already mentioned as well as Cook’s Harbour.
And she’s had people take her rocks as far away as England and perhaps to Walt Disney World in Florida.
Lots of them are still out there to find, as she estimates only about 25 per cent of them have been marked found on Facebook.
Elliott doesn’t think the fun has to stop for winter either, as she hopes to hide rocks at various locations indoors while snow is on the ground.
Iceberg Festival plans
Elliott says now there are plans to make rock painting an event at the Iceberg Festival next June.
Starting after Christmas, she plans to have rock painting for kids once a week at the library. The rocks will be left at the library and they will later be hidden as part of the Iceberg Festival event.
Kids will go around searching for the rocks, one of which will have a special prize attached to it.