History was made on May 26, 2018 when the state of Ohio hosted the first Giga-Event in the United States! With a Giga this “close” to home (when compared to traveling abroad to other events from Seattle), quite a few HQ staffers wanted to join in on the fun! Learn more about the event from four lackeys who traveled to GeoWoodstock XVI to experience the Americas’ first Giga-Event firsthand!
Cathy, username: Prying Pandora
GeoWoodstock 2018, the world’s first Giga-Event in the Americas. Or anywhere outside of Europe, for that matter. No way would I be missing this! That sentiment was shared by 7,800 geocachers from all over the world, and we all came together at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. I met cachers at every airport, as geocachers were converging on Cincinnati from all directions. There was so much to do as soon as we arrived in Cincinnati, including several GeoTours featuring everything from the city’s famous sights, to EarthCaches, to donuts, and everything in between. Lots of cool Lab Caches, satellite events, good dining, and caches, caches, everywhere!
Geocaching, geocachers, and geocaching community volunteers are three of my favorite things, and Geowoodstock had them all in abundance! There were so many people to see and visit with, that I never did go on any of the rides. Seeing old friends and making new friends from all over the USA and world is a rare opportunity and I didn’t want to waste a minute of it. Everyone was having a wonderful time, and were so happy to be sharing the experience with so many members of the geocaching community. I’m so happy to have shared it with all of them, too!
Annie, username: Love
On May 26th it was as though all of my geocaching worlds collided. That is, people I’ve met at various geocaching events from all over the world all ended up in the same place. If I go to a Mega in Europe, I expect to see many friends from the European community. If I go to Geocoinfest US, I see my coin friends. But at North America’s first Giga-Event, people from all the different geocaching communities I’ve come to know and love came together for one big geocaching celebration. I even ran into familiar faces from my first days of working at Geocaching HQ back in 2007.
Coney Island Amusement Park set the stage for a wonderful day of geocaching and gathering of friends old and new. There was something for everyone: creative gadget caches, a variety of vendor booth offerings, and fun amusement rides you could go on in between logging Lab Caches. The event weekend included other fun gatherings including a toga party, a flash mob outside the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium, and even an event at a local brewery. All the events combined with logging a smiley on Ohio’s oldest active geocache and picking up four new states (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia) on my profile made for a memorable weekend that I’ll look fondly on for years to come.
Sven, username: Bl4ckH4wkGER
Long before May 26, 2018, the excitement was building in anticipation of the first Giga-Event in the United States. Expectations were high since it would be a major milestone for the game of geocaching overall, and especially for the US geocaching community. Needless to say, I was excited to learn that I would be a part of it and that many people who I had previously met as the Guest Experience Coordinator in the Geocaching HQ Visitor Center, planned to attend as well.
In the end, the days at and surrounding GeoWoodstock XVI were all the above and so much more. People from all over the world gathered in the greater Cincinnati area to celebrate their geocaching passion. Whether your goal was a hike for the oldest local cache, check multiple states off your map in one trip, collect caches and souvenirs via GeoTours, put faces to the player and reviewer names you had run into online before, or simply social, there was something for everybody. Some weekend highlights included what may have been the most trackable cars in one place at the same time, and at least two geo-marriage-proposals! The location invited people to stick around, talk geocaching, and enjoy the amenities of the amusement park. Until next year!
Jenn, username: MissJenn
It was so worth it to take the red-eye flight from Seattle, Washington, to attend GeoWoodstock XVI in Ohio! What a delightful holiday weekend filled with good times and wonderful friends made through almost two decades of geocaching. As JoGPS, the original creator of GeoWoodstock always said, “It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the number of friends you make.”
Multiple times during the Giga-Event I caught myself simply looking around at the crowds and marvelling at this very large and truly global community that we have built together. From old pals reuniting, new people meeting up over trackables, and digital friends finally meeting “in real life,” to photos with Signal the Frog, hearing many languages, and seeing flags identifying caching teams from various countries and regions. I also enjoyed four nearby GeoTours for this trip and attempted to earn the completion souvenir for each one.
Thank you very much to all the hard working people who made Geowoodstock 2018 the first Giga-Event in the United States. Even though it’s still eleven months away, I can’t help but look forward to GeoWoodstock 2019. Yeehaw!