One-of-a-kind glass orbs and wishing stones littered Seawall Park in Langley Saturday morning, but if you blinked you might have missed a chance to take one home.
Roughly 1,000 people young and old scuffled around the park for the annual Sea Float Scramble, the event in the Village by the Sea that welcomes the new year.
Although there were many to take home, eager scavengers quickly poached what they could. Within 10 minutes, the scramble was over.
“I thought they were all taken, but then I saw there were some in the bushes,” 7-year-old Seattle resident Olive Stieber said. “So I got two, one for my dad. I’m just happy I got one.”
The Sea Float Scramble, hosted by Callahan’s Firehouse and Langley Main Street Association, saw a healthy turnout despite some soggy weather. There were more sea floats and wishing stones than ever before for people to take, perhaps even outnumbering the amount of people in attendance. The colorful glass objects, cast by glass artist Callahan McVay, could be found all over Seawall Park. Some were in puddles, bushes, trees — one even fell into Saratoga Passage’s chilly waters. Of course, one brave soul managed to fish it out of the sea as another unsuccessfully raced to grab it.
A smaller, more kid-friendly scramble was held at the same time in Langley Park, located on Second Street and Anthes Avenue.
Lorinda Kay, Programs Manager for Langley Main Street Association, said there were 1,000 sea floats this year and “probably around 900 to 1,000” people in attendance. Langley Main Street Association roughly recorded attendance statistics and zip codes. Kay added “we always miss a few people.”
Kay says about half of those in attendance were from off-island. That took her and the organizers by surprise, especially considering the conditions.
“We were inundated by rain all morning, so it was a little concerning regarding the attendance, but we’re happy to say we had a great attendance,” Kay said. “We had people from Olympia, Tacoma, people from all over the region and we even had about 50 people from out-of-state. People braved the elements.”
The Sea Float Scramble is always advertised off-island, Kay said, but the healthy off-island attendance is a sign of the scramble’s growing popularity. Seattle resident Bonnie Stieber, Olive Stieber’s mother, said her family heard about last year’s event as her husband is “always looking for artsy things to do in the area.” It’s been on her calendar ever since, and she was happy to take her daughter to this year’s scramble.
She wasn’t as skilled as Olive, but she didn’t seem to mind.
“She managed to get two, and I got zero,” Bonnie Stieber chuckled.
The Stiebers plan to go next year.