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Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Great Northwest Glass Quest begins again

The Great Northwest Glass Quest attracts thousands to the Stanwood area

  • Mark Ellinger heats glass in his Stanwood studio in January 2010. On a table behind him is one of the glass floats he made for the Great Northwest Gla...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Mark Ellinger heats glass in his Stanwood studio in January 2010. On a table behind him is one of the glass floats he made for the Great Northwest Glass Quest. This year's event starts Friday and ends Feb. 24.

STANWOOD -- The fourth annual Great Northwest Glass Quest starts here Friday.
The free event attracts thousands of individuals, families and geocachers who scour parks and businesses in search of plastic "clue balls" that can be redeemed for hand-blown glass balls. The works of art look much like the green Japanese fishing-net floats that once washed up on Washington's ocean beaches, except the glass is much more colorful and is blown by Stanwood glass artist Mark Ellinger.
Here's how it works: Through Feb. 24, people are encouraged to pick up a Glass Quest treasure hunt guide at any participating business, chamber of commerce or information office in Stanwood and on Camano Island.
The guide tells you where to look for the clue balls. They could be on the ground, hanging in a tree or stuck to a wall. If you find one, you turn it in and receive a limited-edition, stamped and signed ball of hand-blown glass. If you search and can't find a clue ball, have five participating businesses stamp your Glass Quest guide. With the stamped guide, you can enter a drawing to win a glass ball.
Ellinger, who lives north of Stanwood, began blowing glass 30 years ago. The glass floats he has made this year for the Glass Quest use special colors from a German company that has gone out of business.
"They'll never be duplicated again, making this year's floats unlike any others I've designed," Ellinger said in a statement from Glass Quest organizers.
For more information about the treasure hunt and where to get your guide, go to the Great Northwest Glass Quest site at www.thegreatnwglassquest.com.

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