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by Ed Duffy

What is all this painted rock business about?

The newest craze in social media isn’t online. It’s outside. Rock painting and hiding and seeking groups are popping up across the country. What’s the point? Just fun. People paint river rocks with cool designs or messages or whatever and hide them in public places. When you find one, you can keep it or rehide it, but you’re encouraged to take a picture of it and post it on the group’s Facebook or other social media page. The rocks will usually have the name of the group on it somewhere, often on the back. Some will have signatures or names of their creators, some wont.

The biggest local Facebook group is 719 Rocks! with over 17,000 members and growing. The group is open to the public. People post pictures of their creations before they put them out and when they find some. They also share tips on techniques and subject matter and where to hide/find rocks.

Local businesses are getting into it as well. Cogstone Brewing Company will give you a special deal on pizza if you find and bring back one of their rocks. Easy Street Designs will give you up to $1 off any purchase of $1 or more if you bring one of their rocks back to the shop. Of course, you can also just keep them or rehide them if you like. Chick-Fil-A has put out a number of Eat More Chicken  themed rocks featuring their famous cow. Lotion Bar Cafe in Widefield hosted a bring your own rock to paint day, providing work tables, paints, brushes and pointers. Dozens of people showed up to create new treasures to hide.

You’ll also find cartoon characters, super heroes, text messages, logos, flags, designs. Some are great pieces of art. Some are just to contribute to the hunt. One clever set out there is a “quilting rock”. If you find it, you’re asked to add a design to one of the blank squares and rehide it.

Some general, common sense guidelines; don’t put rocks where people aren’t supposed to be. In parks, keep them near the trails. Putting them on grass that’s going to be mowed at some point is a bad idea. Always respect private property. Most businesses are fine with the whole thing, but if they ask you to refrain, honor their request. I don’t put any where one can easily see them from the road, as I don’t want to encourage people looking for rocks while they drive.

As for where to get the rocks, don’t take rocks from medians or landscaping where they were obviously put there by the property owner. You can get 2”-4” river rock at KW Schramek Landscaping in Fountain, for about $5 for a 5 gallon bucket. Other material places would probably also be happy to sell you a bunch cheap. You can also find them in creeks or around your house. Again, the main thing is, always respect other people’s property.

It’s a lot of fun both making and hiding. You can do it yourself or take the whole family. Be safe. Be alert. Have fun.