Summerfest medallion found in Northdale Park


From left to right, Kiana Monson, Susan Monson, Jax Monson and Connie Gillen found the 2017 Summerfest Medallion together in Northdale Park. Aundrea Kinney/Review

“We just started making it our thing every year to do together,” said Connie Gillen, 52, who found the Summerfest Medallion on June 20 with her sister Susan Monson, 49; niece Kiana Monson, 14; and nephew Jax Monson, 7.

They found the medallion in the weeds surrounding Northdale Park after only two clues were released.

Every year, this family of dedicated medallion hunters moves through each city park as one group, scouring the landscape for the Summerfest Medallion, and this isn’t the first year they have found it. In 2011 they found the medallion hidden in a fake rock at the Oakdale Discovery Center. 

This year, because the Oakdale family had purchased a Summerfest Button, they received $1,500 as their reward. They are the first medallion finders to receive the extra $500 for having the Summerfest Button, according to Larry Eberhard, a representative of the Oakdale Area Chamber of Commerce. The OACC is responsible for organizing the medallion hunt each year.

Gillen and Susan said they plan to spend some of the money on a bucket list item for their mother and take her to visit Las Vegas.

 

The art of the hunt

Gillen said that because her family enjoys medallion hunting, they try to visit every park and all of the city paths on the day the first clue is released. This year, they weren’t able to make it to all of them, but Susan had actually visited Northdale Park the first day of the hunt. 

On the second day of the hunt Gillen, Susan, Kiana and Jax started their search at the dog park because the first clue refered to hot dogs as “dogs” and the second clue mentioned the city “adding acreage and amenities.” Of course, the Oakdale Bark Park is the city’s newest park, so that seemed a likely hiding place, but the medallion was not there.

“There were a lot of people up there. We felt we combed it really good, so we left there finally. We thought, if it’s here, we surely would have found it,” Susan said.

Susan and Gillen explained that they often look at the clues word by word until they find something worth checking out. In this case, the word ‘point’ garnered their attention. They knew Northdale Park has an archery range and arrows are pointy, so they thought they would give it a shot. Northdale Park is actually the only Oakdale park with an archery range.

The four of them started searching around the archery range, but the words “kicking up dust” from the second clue led them across the baseball diamond to the north-east corner of the park. Sure enough, they found the clue in the weeds by the foul line pole for one of the park’s baseball diamonds.

Gillen added that although they do try to decipher, they are never really sure if they are right or wrong, so they also make a point to just get out in the parks looking. 

Gillen and Susan said that even in the years they don’t find the medallion, the kids enjoy getting out to the parks, and medallion hunting is a great way for the family to exercise together. They also carry a bag for any trash that they may come across.

Eberhard explained that getting residents out to the parks was part of the reason the Summerfest Medallion Hunt was created.

“It’s coming up on 20 years now that we’ve been doing this,” Eberhard said. He explained that the Oakdale Business Association — now the OACC — and the city of Oakdale, had initially created the medallion hunt to encourage residents to visit the then newly-launched city webpage, as well as the city parks.

Gillen confirmed that after years of medallion hunting, “We know Oakdale pretty well now.”

 

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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