Kyle Jensen / The Record — Olive Stieber, a 7-year-old Seattle resident, shows off her finds at the Sea Float Scramble. She says she picked a second up for her dad, who couldn’t attend.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Olive Stieber, a 7-year-old Seattle resident, shows off her finds at the Sea Float Scramble. She says she picked a second up for her dad, who couldn’t attend.

Sea Float Scramble brings about 1,000 scavengers to Langley

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.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — A woman takes a selfie with her baby holding her sea float.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — A woman takes a selfie with her baby holding her sea float.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — A brave soul took a dip to grab the lone sea float in Saratoga Passage. Organizers didn’t plan to hide any in the water, but the wind pushed it off a park ledge.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — A brave soul took a dip to grab the lone sea float in Saratoga Passage. Organizers didn’t plan to hide any in the water, but the wind pushed it off a park ledge.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Kids eagerly wait for the start of the kids’ scramble at Langley Park.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Kids eagerly wait for the start of the kids’ scramble at Langley Park.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Two teenagers braved chilly waters in an attempt to fetch a glass orb in the water.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Two teenagers braved chilly waters in an attempt to fetch a glass orb in the water.

More in News

Burn bans eased

A return to wet, cooler weather means campers and s’mores enthusiasts can spark up fires once again.

Public feedback on proposed Port of Coupeville tax levy remains positive

The port will continue taking public comments through Oct. 22.

Langley names new public works director

Four months after eliminating its public works director, Langley is bringing back the position.

No Harvest Festival this year

The Whidbey Island Harvest Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Whidbey Island schools have seen only a few ‘devious licks’ copycats

A viral TikTok challenge has touched Whidbey, but the trend was short-lived.

Health officials urge residents to get flut shots

There is a greater risk of flu transmission this year as COVID-19 guidelines are eased.

Passport delays continue at Langley office, across nation

COVID-related office closures and a shortage of employees have added to the wait time.

Towers, Erickson vie for fire board position

The position garnered little attention until Island County’s special filing period last month.

Parks, Rec district hopes for share of stimulus windfall

The request spans seven projects including improving athletic fields and building pickleball courts.

Most Read