Snowman hunt melts down

Snowman Hunt2 webIt only takes a few to ruin a good time for everyone. Unfortunately, that was the case this week when Barbourville Tourism was forced to call off the annual Snowman Hunt before the little guy was found.

Everyone waited anxiously for the first clue to be published on Tourism’s Facebook page on Thanksgiving Day. When the hunt began, and as the days progressed, hundreds of gamers flocked to downtown Barbourville searching in every nook and cranny for the elusive snowman. However, as the days lingered on with a no-show by the snowman, desperate hunters became a little too aggressive, showing less and less regard for other people’s property.

Book return box webDamage was reported around the foundations of various city properties and even to flower beds surrounding the courthouse square. But, it seems the Barbourville Public Library may have taken the brunt of the damage, as people began to focus their energy in front and behind the building.

According to the library’s director, Lana Hale, both book return boxes were damaged.

“As both of the boxes are bolted to the ground, it took some real effort to move them, and they were both moved,” said Hale. “Someone pried the top off the book return box in the back of the building so they could get to the inside of the box. The box is no longer usable, and it will be very expensive to replace it. However, we’re hoping we can find someone who can fix it for us.”

“We were afraid more damage would be done if we didn’t pull the plug,” said Denise Wainscott, Director of Barbourville Tourism. “It was so nice to see people out doing something together. When we put together the hunt, we never expected this to happen.”

The good news is Barbourville Tourism Director Denise Wainscott says Tourism is planning to have another hunt sometime in the near future, perhaps around the New Year.

“We do plan to launch another hunt because we enjoy seeing the community coming out to participate in such a wholesome family-friendly event,” said Wainscott.

Tourism has not set the date for the next hunt yet. And when the next one begins, there will be a stricter set of rules put out. However, even with the posted rules, people will still need to show some common sense and show respect for other’s property.

Wainscott says wherever the new hunt begins, no one will have to remove or rearrange any property to find the hidden item. Nothing will need to be taken apart. In other words, it will be ‘hidden in plain sight.’

“I hope this setback doesn’t put a damper on people’s Christmas,” said Wainscott.

According to Wainscott, Safehouse LLC, sponsor of the original snowman hunt, plans to back the new hunt.

“Safehouse is with us on this,” said Wainscott, “because the hunt is all about fellowship, and it’s a wholesome event loved by young and old.”

“I’m hoping everybody learns from this,” said Wainscott, “because, basically, it was a good thing until this happened. When we launch the next one, we believe people will still get out and have fun, and some lucky person will collect the $500 reward.”