LOUDONVILLE — An old Victorian Christmas tradition is getting a new twist this year, with the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum in Loudonville announcing an outdoor, community-wide scavenger hunt.
In Victorian times, families would hide a pickle — often waxed or dried — in the tree, and on Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle would receive an extra gift.
According to Kenny Libben, curator of the museum, “with everything going on this year, we felt like everyone could use some excitement — and maybe even some extra gifts.”
The result is a 12-day scavenger hunt being called “The 12 Days of Christmas Pickles.”
The idea is simple; starting on Dec. 1, the museum will hide a glass pickle ornament, each day, somewhere in the Mohican area. The general location of the pickle will be announced on Facebook, through a public event titled “The 12 Days of Christmas Pickles.”
Clues will start off vague, and as the day goes on if the pickle remains unfound more specific clues will be posted until it is found. Whoever finds the pickle will keep it, and take it to the museum to claim their prize. The next day, it starts all over again.
“There are 12 different prize packages for the winners," Libben said. "We still have some businesses reaching out to donate prizes so specifics won’t be announced until the end of the month.
"But I can say we’ve got some great stuff, and we’re very thankful to all the businesses helping out.”
Libben noted prize packages start at around $25 in value, and go up to $50 or more — including some pickles that will have multiple prizes for the winner.
The pickle hunt isn’t entirely new to those close with museum.
“Each year the museum hosts a private Christmas party for members and donors, and for a number of years now we’ve hidden pickles around the museum exhibits and decorations for that event,” Libben said.
The prizes were smaller, and donated by board members. But partygoers — often numbering in the hundreds — still loved the thrill of the hunt.
With the ongoing pandemic, the board was forced to cancel this year’s party but after hearing from dozens of disappointed patrons, decided to take the hunt outside and open it to the entire community.
The museum hopes this will give families an excuse to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, hopefully have some fun, and maybe even take home a prize.
According to the museum, the only thing you have to do to play is join the event on Facebook (those unfamiliar with events can go to the museum’s Facebook page, and click on events) — being sure to follow, in order to receive daily updates. From there, scope out the clues and go find the pickle.
“Hopefully we get quite a few people joining in, because the more you see searching for the pickle, the more exciting it will be to find it,” Libben concluded.
Questions regarding the event can be directed to the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum at 419-994-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.