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Oodles of Glass Floats This Week in Lincoln City: An Antique Oregon Coast Valentine

Published 02/11/22 at 5:42 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oodles of Glass Floats This Week in Lincoln City: An Antique Oregon Coast Valentine

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Like some sort of planetary convergence, Antique and Collectible Week and Valentine's Day coincide on the central Oregon coast with a mass of glass float drops. The week-long festival in Lincoln City starts just as Valentine's Day weekend gets underway, and thus begins a flood of glass floats – both new and artisan-created, as well as the antique Japanese floats of decades past.

For Antique Week, some 100 antique Japanese glass floats will be carefully hidden during daylight hours between the high tide line and the embankment on the beach. These are the real thing: the old school, green glass balls that were used by Japanese fishermen for decades. Until about the ‘80s, they were seen along the Oregon coast in sizable numbers, drifting over from the east, and collected by just about everyone who ever hit this coastline and looked down.

They were a staple of ‘70s décor in the Pacific Northwest in many homes.

Lincoln City Visitor Bureau's Scott Humpert said they've had a contact in Alaska for some time that's been providing the now-disappearing treasures. The bureau has a lot of them stockpiled – but that supply is dwindling, he said.

For the Valentine's Day glass float drop, there will be 50 balls of red, white and pink showing up on the beaches.

Both special drops begin on Saturday, with the Valentine's drops going through Sunday. The 100 antique floats from the East happen February 12 through 21. See the Lincoln City site for more.

Check a few different accesses in town – from Roads End to Siletz Bay. Various floats will be hidden throughout the day, so you may increase your chances by checking out more than one access. The Lincoln City float faeries say they are put out there come rain or shine, but scary tidal conditions can change that.

A bit of a warning for this weekend: the National Weather Service said there is an increased chance of sneaker waves this weekend along the northern half of the Oregon coast, including this weekend. Make sure you keep your eyes on the tides and check Explore Lincoln City's social media for any sudden changes or cancellations should conditions worsen abruptly.

If you've already got a Japanese glass float from the past, next weekend gives you the chance to see if you can get it identified and learn about your float's history.

It's called Float Identification Day, and it's held at the North Lincoln County History Museum on February 19, the opening of a new exhibit there.

Float Odyssey is a look at the fishing floats that wind up on these shores, including those famed glass floats from Japan that once were common.

“Odysseys are described as long and adventurous journeys,” the museum said. “We couldn't think of a better word to describe the epic voyages that the fishing floats in this exhibit have endured. After being used and lost at sea by fishermen, these floats were caught in the circular Pacific currents for decades until large storms forced them ashore.”

This exhibit follows some of the more extraordinary float odysseys, highlighting their place of origin, their use in the fishing industry, where and when they were found, and how they wound up in the museum's collection. Learn all about glass fishing floats through the stories of the special floats selected for this exhibit.

Dr. Nick Simpson and fellow float expert Ken Busse will be here to answer questions about the new exhibit and to help identify floats. Bring in that old glass float you have hanging in your garage or from a tree in your yard to learn its history from experts. They will be at the museum on Saturday, February 19th, from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 4907 Oregon Coast Hwy, Lincoln City, Oregon. (541) 996-6614.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees nearly 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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