The six-inch-tall gnome hides in tall grass at an undisclosed location in Quincy.

Over the last couple months, the Quincy Recreation Department has held a weekly gnome hunt to give Quincy residents and their families a safe and fun way to get out of the house during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Multiple Quincy residents, along with Recreation Director Russ Harrington, saw that the city of Moses Lake was doing a scavenger hunt where they hid a garden gnome around different parks and places in town for four hours in the afternoon everyday each week. Moses Lake started the hunt around the beginning of May, Harrington said.

Around the same time Harrington saw that Moses Lake was doing this, someone in the community donated a gnome to the rec department so they could participate as well and Harrington thought it was a perfect time to try it.

May 14 was the first day that the Quincy Rec Department put the gnome out. This Thursday, July 16, the hunt will be the ninth hunt in 10 weeks. Harrington said about a dozen people participate each week.

The gnome hunt in Quincy happens once a week, and the gnome is out for 24 hours. The clue to finding the six inch gnome is posted at 10 a.m. on Thursday, and the gnome is removed from the hidden location at 10 a.m. on Friday. Once someone finds the gnome, they are to take a selfie with it and send it to the Quincy Recreation Department on Facebook.

Harrington said that he wanted the gnome to be out for a full day instead of just four hours in the afternoon because he wanted anyone that wanted to participate, be able to do so. Having the gnome out or only a few hours in the middle of the afternoon excludes a lot of people who work during the day, he said. It also allows a family to find a time during the day that works for all members so that they can do it as a family activity. Harrington also wanted to make the hunt in a way that anyone could win, since the gnome is not removed after the first person finds it.

The department takes a running list of those who send in photos each week and are going to be put into a big drawing at the end of the summer for prizes, Harrington said.

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