As reported on Page B1 of this week’s Sentinel, parks and walking/hiking trails in this region remain open for individuals and families to visit.
And when they visit two Millersburg-area facilities – the Ned Smith Center east of town and Riverfront Park on the banks of the Susquehanna – they will find two new features intended to enhance their enjoyment.
Local artist Angelia Bixler recently created both the Fairy House Hunt on the Smith Center’s Locust Loop Trail; and the Alphabet Hunt in Riverfront Park.
• Nine ‘‘fairy houses’’ are hidden along the Locust Loop Trail, which is located on the north side of Wiconisco Creek (the same side as the center building and parking lot). Visitors can start their hunt by going either left or right on the trail.
• The Alphabet Hunt begins with the letter ‘‘A’’ at the park’s north end near the brick building. The remaining 25 letters are found throughout the rest of the riverfront.
‘‘You can engage in lots of ways – sing ‘The Alphabet Song;’ walk back and forth finding the letters of your name; sprint from A to Z; or take a photo beside the first letter of your name and send it to a friend,’’ Bixler advised.
On both ‘‘hunts,’’ photography is encouraged; however, visitors are asked to not pick up or othwersie disturb each piece of art.
The hints are very popular at this time. Social distancing is urged (keeping six feet apart).
A ‘Wonderful’ Response
‘‘The community response has been wonderful. I’ve received so many thank you comments via Facebook, which is so appreciated,’’ Bixler said in an email to the Sentinel. ‘‘It’s always nice to hear that someone has been positively impacted through art.’’
Bixler is a member of a Facebook group of artists called Smile Rocks. The group participates in the global art movement called Art Abandonment.
‘‘Artists from around the world create, and then ‘abandon,’ their work in public spaces for unsuspecting people to find,’’ she explained. ‘‘Each ‘abandonment’ is a random act of kindness through art. The movement can be found on Facebook where the artist members post photos of the art they leave behind. Finders are encouraged to post photos of their found treasures. ‘‘I began abandoning in 2016 and have done so every year since,’’ Bixler added. ‘‘Painted rocks, jewelry, bookmarkers, and functional ceramics are among the pieces I’ve abandoned over the years.
‘‘With the COVID-19 pandemic the abandonment community has pulled back it’s efforts as to not put anyone at unnecessary risk by picking up art. I wanted to continue abandoning, to find a way to add something unexpected into the community and to bring people a little joy during this difficult and stressful time,’’ she said.
‘‘And so the Fairy House and Alphabet Hunts were born. The idea was to create an experience. They’re both ‘no touch’ abandonment projects, family-friendly and outdoors. Just the right combination for our current circumstances.
According to Bixler, both ‘‘hunts’’ will remain in place until the current COVID-19 crisis subsides.
‘‘I may even add a few more fairy houses,’’ she added.