Photo by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group
                                Glass artist Callahan McVay shows how to shape a sea float during a demonstration.

Photo by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group Glass artist Callahan McVay shows how to shape a sea float during a demonstration.

2020 Sea Float Scramble bigger than ever

Sea float seekers, get ready. Langley’s annual Sea Float Scramble will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.

The event, now in its 10th year, will follow a format similar to previous years. Floats are placed on dry land at Seawall Park. A second location at Langley Park on Second Street and Anthes Avenue is available for kids under 5 years old and for those with disabilities.

The Sea Float Scramble is hosted and funded by the Langley Main Street Association, although in previous years the lodging tax funded it as a tourism activity. Callahan’s Firehouse provides the floats.

Glass artist Callahan McVay said the event is based on the county fair’s now-defunct barnyard scramble. As a little kid, he remembers being pecked by an angry goose while participating.

The Sea Float Scramble offers a more humane — and non-threatening — activity for youngsters to scoop up treasures to take home. The event was his idea.

The sea floats have undergone fine-tuning over the years. Floats were originally too big for a child to hold without dropping, so the size had to be minimized.

“Kids dominate the playing field,” McVay said. “They’re really fast and they’re low to the ground and they’re super focused.”

The sea floats are created with the aim of making “zero waste products.” McVay said floats are made mostly from scraps from his gallery and from a sheet glass factory. About 90 percent of materials are recycled.

Nearly a third of the 1,200 participants last year in the “extreme Easter egg hunt” were from out of town, according to McVay.

He credits the event with bringing economic development to the city, but believes it to be at max capacity. His gallery made 1,000 floats this year for the event.

“We stuck with 1,000, partially because Seawall Park can only handle so many people,” said Michaleen McGarry, executive director for Langley Main Street Association.

As usual, wishing stones will be given out by volunteers to mitigate sniffling.

Because there are often fewer floats than people participating, McGarry emphasized that people should take only one float home. For those looking for extras, Callahan’s Firehouse will offer discounts on the floats in the gallery.

And when the Sea Float Scramble begins, prepare to run.

“We jokingly say they’re hidden in plain sight,” McGarry said. “They’re all over the place. It’s more of a scramble, and when the cowbell rings they just sort of run for it.”

Photo by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group
                                A barrel full of wishing stones in Callahan’s Firehouse.

Photo by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group A barrel full of wishing stones in Callahan’s Firehouse.

More in Life

Rod and Gun Club a catch for the community

An 83-year-old South Whidbey institution dedicated to social activities and outdoor sports… Continue reading

Doug and Julianne Blynn from Boston bought the hotdog stand on June 11. Photo provided
Hot diggity! New stand launches in Oak Harbor

A new hot dog stand is finding its footing in Oak Harbor.… Continue reading

The plant-based meat alternative is often used as a substitute for hamburgers but Zeffreys encourages experimentation. Photo by Brandon Taylor
New biz is meatless in Freeland

After spending 12 years in New York, a Freeland native has returned… Continue reading

Belov artwork shown at Schouten Gallery during July

Rob Schouten Gallery will present “Facade: What Lies Beneath the Surface,” July… Continue reading

New Freeland frozen yogurt business stays cool

Starting a new business can be a big risk, especially during a… Continue reading

Summer delight: A scenic bike ride and a pie

Grab your bike helmet, it’s time to register for the fifth annual… Continue reading

Coupeville man a valedictorian at Dartmouth

SEBASTIAN WURZRAINER, of Coupeville, is one of Dartmouth College’s six valedictorians from… Continue reading

Oak Harbor student on Marquette dean’s list

Oak Harbor native Callie Nuttall named to Marquette University’s spring 2020 Dean’s… Continue reading

Keep your germs, cover your face in style

It was once the look for bandits, ninjas and dentists. Now it’s… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Whidbey’s other pandemic: It’ll make you buggy

By Harry Anderson The pandemic is getting worse. The death toll here… Continue reading

Going to the dogs, and occasional cat

Dogs don’t chase after this ambulance. They ride inside. What’s up with… Continue reading

Photo provided
                                “Auntie” Jackie Huerta often has her 8-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Jean, to help her in the kitchen.
Oak Harbor caterer is adapting her business to COVID-19

An Oak Harbor caterer with a love of cooking for the masses… Continue reading