East Pasco County residents are having a rockin’ good time – with hide-and-seek painted rocks.
On a recent Sunday, members of a new club, East Pasco Rocks, packed a pavilion at Zephyr Park in Zephyrhills for their first group painting party.
They brought art supplies, creativity and – rocks.
Afterward, children gathered up the pretty stones, hidden for a treasure hunt in the park.
“There’s nothing grander than sitting down and watching kids find rocks,” said Renee Crum, founder of East Pasco Rocks.
Her daughter painted a rock with a Pokemon character. Later, a friend’s daughter found the rock.
For 15 minutes, Crum said, “All she did was hear this girl squealing (with joy). It’s a giant game of hide-and-seek.”
The group has nearly 600 members, brought together largely through Facebook.
Members live in Zephyrhills, Land O’ Lakes, San Antonio and Dade City.
A few, who frequently visit east Pasco, live in Lakeland and Plant City.
Many have never met their rock-painting buddies in person.
East Pasco Rocks plans a second painting party on Feb. 11 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Hobby Lobby, at 7325 Gall Blvd., in Zephyrhills.
The club is part of a growing national trend. Members often meet up on Facebook or Pinterest.
First, comes the arts and craft part. Rocks are painted with colorful designs or a written message.
“There is nothing specific about what they have to do or how they do it,” said Crum. “Sometimes we write a word – hope or love.”
But, mermaid tails, penguins or pretty patterns also are popular.
The finished artworks are hidden, but not too well because it’s the discovery that counts.
A rock found is a rock that can bring delight, or at least a smile, to someone who stumbles upon something unexpected, pretty and a bit mysterious.
Crum started painting rocks when a friend in Missouri suffered the loss of her son. The friend painted a rock in his honor.
About the same time, Crum also saw a Facebook page about a group in Lakeland.
She started Zephyrhills Painted Rocks in November, beginning with a few members, and a Facebook page.
She quickly heard from residents in Wesley Chapel, Land O’ Lakes, San Antonio and Dade City who wanted to find out how to start their own clubs.
Turns out it was easier to expand Crum’s group and rename it East Pasco Rocks.
“This started as a community project, but it has grown to a multi-community effort,” said Crum. “It’s a good way to bring east Pasco together so we can share with each other.”
It’s a pretty free-wheeling pastime.
Anyone who finds and keeps a rock is expected to paint and hide two replacement rocks.
If a rock is put back in its hiding place, a Facebook posting of the rock or better still, a selfie, is appropriate.
But, Crum said safety also is paramount.
Don’t hide rocks in parking lots, for instance, or in grassy areas where a lawnmower could kick up a hidden rock.
The Facebook posts can bring attention to area businesses where rocks sometimes are left, Crum said.
A couple of businesses have asked not to be included, Crum said. But, overall, she added, “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
For information on joining East Pasco Rocks, visit Facebook.com/groups/1218099624929213/.
Published February 8, 2017