The Capital Region’s rainbow hunt is changing with the season and turning into a snowflake hunt.
“By popular demand, we are renewing our hunt to give everyone something to do on those cold, snowy days!” said Kristyn Dayter, host of the #518rainbowhunt, in an email.
The Scotia resident founded the Facebook group in March in the earliest days of the COVID crisis as a way to offer families some relief from the stress of being cooped up inside, distanced from others. Families colored rainbows and placed them in their windows and doors for others to find on their walks and drives. Then they would walk and drive around to find rainbows that others had created.
Organizers are encouraging people to do the same with snowflakes this winter season. In a recent Facebook post, they shared photos of snowflakes that families can print out, color and place in their windows or doors. Participants are welcome to post photos of their creations, as well as of the snowflakes they find using the hashtag #518snowflakehunt.
“I hope it catches on just as well as it did with the rainbow hunt because I think it will be really helpful for the kids,” Dayter said.
When the rainbow hunt first kicked off in March, it quickly amassed a following. Within a matter of days, the Facebook group had thousands of members and handmade rainbows began popping up in windows of homes around the area. While the 16 group administrators are all from the Capital Region, the group’s 113,000-plus members include people from around the globe.
News of the group has also spread far and wide since its inception. Facebook highlighted the 518 Rainbow Hunt in an advertising campaign earlier this year and there are plans in the works to do another one later this year as well, according to Dayter.
Locally, they partnered with Bowled in Schenectady for a #Fuelingthefrontlines Rainbowl Train campaign to donate meals to health care and nursing home workers. The group also partnered with the New York State Office of Mental Health on the “Hope is not Canceled” campaign.
There are no plans to slow down, either; they’re going to be part of the Bring Back the Holiday Magic Drive-Through reverse parade in Ma’alwyck Park, according to Dayter. It’s slated to run from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, and will include light displays, fire trucks and appearances from special characters.
Of course, the group’s main focus will be on the #518snowflakehunt and people have already started posting photos of their creations on Facebook.
Dayter hopes the hunt, which families can do all while social distancing, will help give kids and families something to look forward to during the colder months.
“I know it was really helpful when everybody was really fearful of even leaving their house,” Dayter said. “There’s still going to be stuff we’re not able to do, but at least people can drive around and view windows as they did with the rainbows.”