Editor’s note: Groundspeak Lackeys are traveling thousands of miles from H.Q. throughout the year to share smiles, shake hands, and make geocaching memories at nearly 20 Mega-Events worldwide. Cathy Hornback aka, Prying Pandora, attended the Mega-Event GeoWoodstock X (GC2X6ZV). It took place in Indiana, USA. Cathy has been a Lackey since 2009 and works in Customer Relations. Here’s Cathy’s account of her trip.
Written By: Cathy Hornback
On Memorial Day weekend 2012, I had the honor of representing Groundspeak with our CEO and co-founder Jeremy Irish at GeoWoodstock X in the small town of Sellersburg, IN. Sellersburg is about 10 miles north of the much larger city of Louisville, Kentucky.
GeoWoodstock is not just any event, and this was not just any GeoWoodstock. The event is held annually at different locations in the US, and for its 10th anniversary, GeoWoodstock returned to its roots in the Louisville area where the first GeoWoodstock took place. The event has grown from 75 attendees at GeoWoodstock I, to 1500 attendees at GeoWoodstock X!
I was eager to begin my Mega-Event adventure so I booked the first flight out of Seattle on Thursday morning, which meant I needed to be at the airport at 4 AM. I hoped to attend an event in Louisville on Thursday evening after I arrived, but my layover in Houston was extended due to a delayed flight so I did not get there in time. One of the nice things about a big Mega-Event is that there are many opportunities to interact with the community spread out over the weekend, so I settled in my hotel for the night looking forward to Friday’s events.
Friday began with a delightful event, a cruise aboard the Belle of Louisville with 650 fellow geocachers. The Belle of Louisville is the oldest river steamboat still in operation, and it’s a National Historic Landmark. We boarded to the merry sound of the boat’s calliope and spent several hours cruising the Ohio River, socializing, and viewing the massive steam engine and boilers that power the boat’s paddle wheel. An afternoon of geocaching with new friends followed along with a visit to Churchill Downs, the location of the Kentucky Derby. Soon it was time for the evening event, the Miles of Smiles Meet & Greet. Set up like a geocaching street fair, it was a chance to meet more of the community. The evening air was a relief from the powerful heat wave that had settled over the area for the weekend.
Saturday was the big day – GeoWoodstock X. I met up with Jeremy for breakfast, who was back in town after spending that Friday attending the opening of the Geocaching Adventures Maze Exhibit in Dayton, Ohio. When he and I arrived at the event, we were greeted by a crowd of geocachers and a traffic jam of more cachers arriving.
A big hot air balloon was being inflated on the hillside where a huge Hollywood-style event sign had been set up. The temperature was even hotter than the day before – 93°F and humid – but cachers are an intrepid bunch and there was a smile on every face. A full day of activities awaited all of the attendees – a group photo, silent auction, educational sessions, caches in the park to find, a vendor expo, catered lunch, a reviewer panel for Q&A, and more. There was also something you rarely get to see – a geo-wedding!
Two cachers from Texas, Crossmage and Phoenix Lady, were married on the GeoWoodstock stage, with Signal giving away the bride! I had a wonderful day meeting more new geocachers than I can count and putting faces to names I had only seen online. I love our friendly, helpful, and clever community. All too soon, it was time for the closing ceremony and announcement of GeoWoodstock XI’s location. It will all happen again next year in Lakeland, FL!