The prize medallion in the fourth annual Emerald City Search was found on a sidewalk outside Fremont's Jive Time record store.
You can see the metal discs all over town. They’re placed on the sidewalk to anchor temporary parking-control signs. Chances are, you barely notice them.
But if you’re hot on the trail of the “hidden” medallion in the Emerald City Search, with more than $5,000 in prizes at stake — as Rachel Collins was shortly after 1 a.m. today — you pay attention to things you’d normally overlook.
“Something about it caught my eye, and I noticed it said ‘2009’ on it, so I was just taking a closer look,” said Collins, 27, of Bellevue.
Collins had dragged her boyfriend, Cameron Klein, 25, down to Fremont after midnight to look for the medallion, after a online clue in the seventh day of the search gave some strong hints about that area.
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This wasn’t their first such expedition: Last weekend, they were practically sure the medallion was near the Magnolia Bridge. No luck. Then they checked out Pioneer Square. Nothing.
But just after 1 a.m. today, after a half-hour of looking for anything unusual, Collins’ eye was drawn to a disc on the sidewalk in front of Jive Time Records, even though Klein said it didn’t look like anything special to him.
After seeing the date on the disk, Collins noticed it bore a string of capital letters, which first just looked like jibberish. “Hang on,” she shouted to Klein. “There’s some kind of secret message.”
After staring at the letters a bit, Collins tried reading them backward, and found they read, “LOOK UNDER STONE FOR ALLEN WRENCH.”
“She screamed, “Oh, My God, its backward!'” Klein said. Sure enough, a small wrench sat under a flat rock a couple of feet away, and with it they dislodged the plate.
On its flip side, which looked like an old 45 rpm record, was the confirmation that this was, indeed the prize medallion on the fourth annual communitywide treasure hunt.
For their efforts, Collins and Klein win a prize package including two platinum passes to Bumbershoot, Seattle’s music and arts festival, this weekend at Seattle Center.
They’ll also receive a family membership and private, curated tour of the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum, a stay a Hotel Max, a guitar autographed by Panic! At The Disco and tickets to a variety of concerts, shows and other events over the coming year.
Jeff McCord, of Playmasons, in its third year of helping run the search, said the clue posted at midnight drew between 50 and 100 searchers to the Fremont area, many of them with flashlights in hand. The clue has a reference to “Lennon” — there’s a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Fremont, and the clue gave the mileage from here to Timbuktu, as does a sign in Fremont.
Other clues over the run of the search had musical references, hinting at the location by a record store.
This wasn’t the first Emerald City Search for Collins, who recently completed a master’s degree in nursing at Seattle University. Two years ago, she was out in the rain, looking unsuccessfully for a medallion hidden under a bench at a West Seattle park.
Klein, who works as an assistant to a real-estate developer, said that last night the couple wavered on whether to drive into Seattle and hunt for the medallion. “But she said if we don’t go and try, and someone else finds it, we’ll feel terrible … She dragged me out the door.”
Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org