The Union County Heritage Festival will be VIRTUAL this year. In an effort to provide engaging outdoor opportunities, in addition to the online festivities, the Union County Heritage Festival has created two Letterboxes to be introduced at the 2020 Virtual Heritage Festival on September 19th. One will be sponsored by the Union County Extension Master Gardeners and hidden in the Master Gardeners’ Teaching Gardens, and the other sponsored by MARSH (Marvin Area for the Restoration and Sustainability of Wildlife Habitat) and hidden in Marvin Efird Park. An introduction to the letterboxes, and to Letterboxing in general will be available on the website at the Virtual Heritage Festival at https://www.unioncountyheritagefestival.org/
Letterboxing got its start in England over 150 years ago. The sport caught on in North America, and reportedly there are now thousands around the world. Clues are published on the internet at the official Letterboxing site https://www.letterboxing.org/ Letterboxes are small watertight plastic containers, containing a rubber stamp unique to the site, a small inkpad, and a small notebook. Participants look for the hidden letterboxes by following clues. Letterboxers will carry their own journal and their own signature stamp and ink pad. When a box is found, the Letterboxer stamps the box’s book with his/her own stamp then uses the stamp provided in the box to stamp their own journal. The image of the stamp found inside the letterbox is considered the prize.
The journal inside each box contains a stamped record of everyone who has found the box. There is an artistic element in the creation of the stamp and of the journal. Either can be simple or elaborate. These two new letterbox journals are pieces of art in their own right. Each contain information about the sponsoring organization, have room for notes and comments, and postcards for those who would like to comment on the box or the hunt.
The Heritage Festival organizers hope that their letterboxes help to generate new excitement for the sport in Union County.