On Saturday, May 6th 2023 from 10am-3pm, NoVAGO held their annual Spring Picnic. This year the location was at the quite spacious James S. Long Regional Park in Haymarket VA. The park was beautiful and the pavilion was HUGE. Plenty of room with tables to sit at and stage the massive buffet of munchies. Cherokee3 was our lucky host this year and did an amazing job monitoring the cache page and updating the schedule, food list and parking situation.
We got quite lucky with the weather today which can be challenging in Northern VA. Sunny, a little breezy with light clouds and temperature in the 70’s.
Several board members arrived early and started prepping for fellow geocachers to arrive. Some guests arrived early and started pitching in to help or chatting about. With the charcoal lit, welcome corner ready with name tags, pens & the log book open, the event began right around 10:00AM. Once a good number of cachers arrived the fun began. The new ice breaker had everyone scratching their heads at first but soon gave into the fun and walked around filling in a picture name or expressing their artistic ability on the other blocks. The tip jar made cachers start to wonder if they were SKILLED or just LUCKY and made their final choice with some cache whoops.. cash.
My GeoHubby stood in to grill up the hamburgers and hot dogs and brought along some chili to heat up. MrPsyduck volunteered to lend a hand at the grill and even with that canned chili although that was hard on him since he is a chili champion. The two of them worked together and before you knew it there were burgers and hot dogs ready for all.
With the food on the table and chatting and the ice breaker in full swing RetiredMPO took candids around the pavilion. Somewhere in the mix someone noticed the buns were MIA, or some thought we were cutting back on the carbs for the day. After a quick call the buns did magically appear just in time to be gobbled up by those looking for them.
There was a lot of chatting with friends not seen in a while, laughing with close regular friends new friends met. We even had a few new geocachers show up as well and said this was their first event! Some cachers hit the trails to find the amazing large number of new caches placed in time for the event. Others hung around the pavilion and continued to socialize.
At 1:00 pm it was finally time for those awards we all had been waiting for. With the pavilion full of nominees & spectators Schwandt got things going as our MC. He spent the perfect amount of time with each category & mentioning the caches and cachers that made up the ballot. We got to hear some great stories and everyone seemed to find it quite enjoyable. As winners were called up I was able to award the medal’s over the winners heads & hand out certificates with a trackable. I had help, of course, behind the scenes. Handing me all I needed before the winner was announced was hrothroc & a visiting guest, Tazsouter from MD. I had additional fun posing for the camera brought which great enjoyment to the crowd (I think anyway, there was certainly laughter). Thank you to TrexM8s who stepped in and took the awards photos.
The 50/50 was a great success and our winner donated back to NoVAGO – extra bonus for the club.
We were able to round up the group for a photo and also a winners photo, cleaned up and made our way out to the trails for a almost 5 mile hike to grab the NEW 11 physical caches (9 traditional / 2 mystery) and 1 (5 stage) adventure lab that were place to publish in time for the event. Thank you to our CO’s Cherokee3, Nothereither, Treasures4us, CacheBoss & (a surprise added cache by) HenryVooys and the reviewers for making sure the caches were available for today’s event.
Special thanks to Freddie for housing all the chef utensils & NoVAGO hosted food in Depho’s absence (the first time he has missed in forever and ever). My hubby for jumping into the fire at the last moment to man the grill, MrPsyduck for helping him along the way. Hrothroc for designing & creating the winners awards. Schwandt & Psyduck graciously offering their time as the nominations & awards committee gathering and counting up the votes and making it easy for us all to cast our ballots. Mostly the whole board had something to do with getting this all together behind the scenes and they all deserve credit for the amazing day. (At this point I would like to remind everyone that if YOU want to be a part of this and more, let us know!) Thank you to all the members who support the cause, without you there would be no NoVAGO.
At the end of the day, it was sad to see the banner coming down. Another successful amazingly fun day. The log book said there were 55 in attendance although it seemed like more.
Gina Thompson AKA ThompsonKickers
NoVAGO 2023 President