By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Although the Imperial Gem was removed from its hiding place, the $250 Chamber Bucks prize was left unclaimed.
No one claimed it by Monday’s 12 noon deadline, said Jana Pribbeno, who coordinated the fun event for the Chamber amidst its other Christmas season activities.
The location has been revealed—it was hidden within one of the large rocks in Campbell Park, east of the water tower.
Pribbeno said she’s uncertain whether it was taken out by someone who didn’t know about its $250 prize, or was moved by an animal that could have squeezed through the rock’s small opening.
“I was hoping the search would have come to a good ending, with someone finding it and claiming the prize for some Christmas shopping at home,” Pribbeno said.
Or, even more in the spirit of Christmas, passing on their winnings to someone else who may have additional need this holiday season, she said.
The hunt was part of the Chamber’s Shop in Imperial campaign.
“There was a lot of interest in the search,” Pribbeno added.
She knew that first-hand, as local searchers stopped by her home or sent her texts at 6 a.m. to see if it had been found. Some wanted clues early before the paper came out that week, she smiled.
Pribbeno remained close-mouthed on its location, referring people to the clues in each week’s newspaper.
Neva Molzer, who lives across the street from Campbell Park, said there was a lot of activity there as people made good on the clues that appeared weekly in the Imperial Republican since mid-October.
That activity hit a peak the weekend before Thanksgiving, she said, when temperatures were unseasonably warm.
That was right after the clue was given in the Nov. 20 issue that read, “The gem’s location is in the vicinity of an object of Warhol’s creation.”
Warhol, the famed artist Andy Warhol, created the Campbell soup label design, thereby leading hunters to Campbell Park.
“It looked like ants coming out of an anthill,” Molzer said of the searching crowds.
“People were combing the park Friday through Sunday that weekend. I couldn’t believe all the people over there,” she said.
There were also people on several nights with flashlights, looking for it in the dark, she noted.
She added if each of them had a trash bag to pick up trash while searching, “The park would’ve been spotless.”
Pribbeno said she had the assistance of two “clue-mates” for the promotion, who helped her come up with the weekly clues and kept an eye on its location to see if it had been found.
Pribbeno encouraged searchers to stay interested as the Chamber will sponsor another “hunt” in the spring.