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Visitors flock to Lincoln City between October and May each year to search for 3,000 custom-made glass floats along seven miles of beaches. You find it, you keep it.
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Volunteer Float Fairies work in secret to drop the glass floats along the shore. They take pride in their stealthy mission, and the joy they bring to visitors.
Kids and adults alike enjoy the thrill of the hunt in beachcombing during the Finders Keepers program. Lincoln City is also a hot spot for kite flying, hiking, shopping and exploring during the winter months.

Discover Lincoln City’s seven miles of beach and find your smile. Ocean breezes, rhythmic waves and miles of sandy beach to explore. Book your getaway today!

When you visit the beaches of Lincoln City this year, you probably won’t see Rebecca Graham. She has a top-secret identity (this being her alias), which she employs as she heads to the beach from fall to spring with a covert mission: to slip 3,000 custom-made glass floats each year onto the beach for visitors to find and keep.

As a designated Float Fairy for the Finders Keepers program, Rebecca has worked hard to perfect the art of clandestine float hiding by never establishing a dispersal pattern, wearing varying clothing, and alternating between five different modes of transportation.

The program is a nostalgic nod to the erstwhile pastime of searching for Japanese net floats — blown glass balls occasionally transported to the Oregon Coast by ocean currents in decades past. Today, net floats are plastic; Lincoln City recreates the experience by having local artists fashion beautiful new blown glass floats in a rainbow of colors, then tasking out volunteer Float Fairies to distribute them.

When Rebecca moved to Lincoln City several years ago, she and her family began combing local beaches in hopes of finding a float. Three years later, a friend approached her with a secret and a request — she was a Float Fairy ready to retire. Would Rebecca take her place? She agreed.

Between mid-October and Memorial Day, Rebecca places five to 10 floats per week on the seven-mile stretch of Lincoln City, from Roads End to Siletz Bay. “You have to be aware of who is watching you,” she says. “But most of the time, no one is. They are all looking for floats.” Sometimes, she just drops a float as she’s walking. “If you don’t appear to be doing anything out of the ordinary, no one sees it happen.”

Taking her stealth to the next level, Rebecca lingers on the beach after her work is done to see who claims the prize. “It’s part of the payoff for me, to wait to see their reaction,” she says.

Sometimes, she ends up in conversation with the finder. Once, a woman plucked her float from the sand and began sobbing. It turned out that she was visiting the coast to spread her son’s ashes, making the find especially meaningful. Another time, a group of women were so elated to find a float they surrounded Rebecca to share their story.

Rebecca’s favorite time of day to place floats is just before sunset, when wet, exhausted float seekers may still be on the hunt while there is still daylight. “People come from all over to find floats,” she says. “Sometimes, they simply won’t leave until they find one.” Rebecca will wait until nearly sunset to drop a float by the beach entrance, hoping the hardworking searchers will leave victorious.

On occasion, Rebecca wishes she could share her experiences with others. But it’s more important to keep her secret identity intact, and reward enough to see how happy people are to find a colorful hand-blown glass float. “We’re creating stories,” she says. “The finders are so excited to tell everyone what they found.”

Check out the Finders Keepers page for tips and hints about float drops, information about the artists, and the schedule for special drops during events and holidays. Happy hunting!

about author Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast and became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (except a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Cascade Journal” and the author of “Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Travelers,” "Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, walking beaches, and hanging out with her family. www.kimcooperfindling.com

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  1. Cindy Pearson says…

    I am so excited to look for the floats on my upcoming trip next weekend! This will be my first trip to Oregon. When researching the area I saw this wonderful story of the Float Fairy. I hope my next comment is that I found one of these beautiful treasures!

    Written on October 7th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  2. cheryl bradley says…

    i hope i can go this year. i have been wanting to go for the last 5 years, but couldn’t cause of not having the money to go. go i hope i can go this year if not there is next year hopefully. <3

    Written on October 12th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  3. Kara wilson says…

    I have been going to lincoln city for many years now. I look for floats even in the summer hoping one was left behind! Sadly I never have found one. I did how ever made one on my last birthday. If was a fun experience. I still will look and hope to find one some day!

    Written on October 14th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  4. Cherry says…

    Was the glass drop postponed tell the weekend of the 21st because of the weather?

    Written on October 15th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  5. Tammy LeRoy says…

    We are going to visit lincoln city, I would love to find a glass ball or other glass items when we walk the beach, We love the northern and central beach areas.

    Written on October 26th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  6. Heather Cavelti says…

    Just heard about Finders Keepers this year on facebook so my family went down last weekend to join the search. Never did find a float but we did see a family who did! Never the less we had a fun time searching and hopefully next time we will get lucky!

    Written on October 26th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  7. Debbie says…

    My husband and I will be spending thanksgiving there. The kids will be gone so this is our treat to ourselves. SO excited. Would love to find a float!!!

    Written on November 1st, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  8. Mikhela Kurzhal says…

    A Facebook friend shared this link, and as it just so happens, I’m going to Lincoln City this weekend! Fingers crossed!

    Written on November 2nd, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  9. Kelley Elston says…

    I loved your story and have always wanted yahoo find a glass float and would especially love to find one of Rebecca’s glass floats since I now have her story. If I find one I’m going to make it and this story known too all I can as something so special travellers can take to heart Lincoln City as a dream destination to be so lucky as to find a beautiful glass float made and secretly tossed to water on the beach by Rebecca and her gifted artistry and wonderful idea to bring surprise and happiness to others. Thank you so much for sharing this great story. Another wonderful reason to make Lincoln City in surprisingly beautiful Oregon as an all pro’s no con’s vacation destination that is sure to deliver fantastic memories. I’ll be there as soon as I can bringing my brother, mother and father with me to look for a Rebecca beach surprise.

    Written on December 14th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  10. TJ says…

    My family and I went last Wed (12/21/16) and at the end of a 31/2 hours of looking I found one laying right in the sand about 6 feet away from where we was taking pictures.

    Written on December 23rd, 2016 / Flag this Comment
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