The Danbacks from Oak Harbor scrambled with hundreds of others Saturday morning in Langley looking for sea floats. Mom Kayla is surrounded by her children Ruthie, right, Wyatt and Marissa. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

The Danbacks from Oak Harbor scrambled with hundreds of others Saturday morning in Langley looking for sea floats. Mom Kayla is surrounded by her children Ruthie, right, Wyatt and Marissa. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Sea Float Scramble over in a flash of glass

More than 1,000 visitors pack Langley’s first event of 2019

They came, they ran around, they went home with a beautiful flash of glass.

Once again, Langley’s Sea Float Scramble came and went in a blur of busy bodies the first Saturday of the year.

Squeals of delight rang out as hundreds of kids big and small nabbed the sun-kissed souvenirs carefully placed in plain site around Seawall Park.

Positioned at the front of the crowd by arriving ridiculously early, James Petts, 58, of Freeland, described himself “as a kid at heart” competing in the scramble for second time.

“Kick every one else out of the way. That’s my strategy,” he joked before the 11 a.m. official start time.

While it took months to plan the scramble and create its fist-sized floats, the actual grab for glass is a short-lived event.

“We started at 8 o’clock this morning and we’ll be done at 11:04 a.m.,” said Janet Ploof, volunteer with Langley Main Street Association that organizes and sponsors the scramble. “I just love the expressions of the kids. They are so thrilled to have something glass to take home.”

About 1,200 floats were created at Callahan’s Firehouse Studio and Gallery using the traditional — and fiery hot —glass-blowing method. It’s financed with a $10,000 grant from the tourism lodging tax.

A drone flying overhead caught all the action on video.

Many families scattered about in different directions after the mad mass dash from both sides of the narrow beachside park.

They then reunited and proudly showed off the colorful free treasures. Most appeared to abide by the “one and done” request of Mayor Tim Callison so that everyone had a chance to find a float.

“We loved it. It was fun,” said mother and daughter, Becky and JoJo Harless from Oak Harbor. “It was definitely worth the drive. We came down and had breakfast before the scramble.”

A separate less crowded and frantic scramble took place in a small park for the wee ones and those needing some assistance.

The crowd was estimated at 1,200, with about 30 percent of participants from off island and some international visitors from Spain, Germany and other countries.

“I never did this before,” said Michelle Leonard, visiting with her mother and young son. “It was pretty wild. I just stepped back and watched. To see the joy on the kids’ face, that’s what it’s about.”

Charlie and Levi Schultz with mom and dad, Nathan and Carolyn Schultz, compare floats after Saturday’s event. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Charlie and Levi Schultz with mom and dad, Nathan and Carolyn Schultz, compare floats after Saturday’s event. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Langley Mayor Tim Callison talks with Oak Harbor residents Becky and JoJo Harless, who drove in for breakfast, followed by the float scramble.

Langley Mayor Tim Callison talks with Oak Harbor residents Becky and JoJo Harless, who drove in for breakfast, followed by the float scramble.

A trip to Langley nabs Oak Harbor residents Becky and JoJo Harless two fine free floats.

A trip to Langley nabs Oak Harbor residents Becky and JoJo Harless two fine free floats.

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