WORTHINGTON — Kalen Brands and his family were sitting around the dinner table Wednesday evening when they noticed the Winterfest Medallion Hunt clue printed on the front page of The Globe. They reread the daily clues, brainstormed ideas, and were pretty certain the medallion was hidden somewhere in Chautauqua Park.
The family made the short drive to town in the dark with flashlights at the ready for each of them — Kalen, his younger brother, Toby, and parents, Doug and Jennifer. Once at Chautauqua Park, they split up in different directions.
Kalen said it was the word “note” in Tuesday’s clue that led him to consider the park’s bandshell, but with the third day’s clue mentioning honoring those who’ve gone away, he thought of the memorial benches and the memorial cannon. There was also mention in that clue about being a place to play and for all things pretty, which he believed referenced the park’s equipment and flower gardens.
“We’ve gone out a few times (in past years), but we’ve never been as certain about where we were looking,” Kalen said. Still, the search proved challenging.
They traversed the park grounds for about an hour, checking under park benches and scanning the park’s features with their flashlights.
“It’s one of those things where you’re walking along and see something maybe glittering off the end of the flashlight and it’s foil or a dropped dime,” he said. “You get all excited, you think you have it, but it’s not right.”
The Brands were the only ones in the park, and Kalen said they were about to give up, thinking perhaps the medallion was at the Freedom Shore Park and Veterans Memorial on the other side of Lake Okabena.
However, after comparing notes with the family on where they’d looked and hadn’t looked, Kalen decided to retrace his dad’s steps around the park’s bandshell.
“It was an area that my dad had gone all the way around looking, but something just kind of led me over there,” Kalen said. He was drawn to a plaque on the side of the bandshell, slid his hand along it and felt something plastic.
There, wedged in a grove behind the plaque, Kalen discovered the three-inch diameter wooden medallion wrapped inside a plastic bag.
For his efforts, Kalen will receive $100 in Chamber checks, which he anticipates will have to be shared with the rest of his family. He is hoping, though, to purchase a new wallet for himself at Buffalo Billfold Company.
Kalen, a first-year student at Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington, said it was a lot of fun to go out and look for the medallion with his family, and said they may have to team up for future medallion hunts.
Following are all of the 2021 Winterfest Medallion Hunt clues:
We made it to 2021
The past year sure was bleak.
But now it’s time for Winterfest fun,
And the joy of hide and seek!
Take note of the clues,
And solve the big mystery.
I’ll be in a place
Where you’ll also find history.
We honor those who’ve gone away,
And those who shaped our city.
A place to laugh, a place to play,
A place for all things pretty.
If you can’t find me by yourself,
Band together with someone else.
No matter how many – is there four or just one?
Go find the drive to get the job done.
A place to go, you can sit down and listen,
Admire the show and things that glisten.
Sounds of the past from those with the knack,
Reach out and find me behind the brown plaque.