For many geocachers the sport isn’t just about finding hidden boxes of trinkets with a GPS, it has a social element as well. Geocachers often meet informally to hike, go paddling, or take road trips to find caches together. There are also official geocaching events, which are opportunities for geocachers to meet and socialize. Typically these events draw numbers in double digits, but sometimes the attendance can reach into the hundreds. The annual “Geowoodstock” event draws thousands to a location that changes every year. Each location is selected by a committee which evaluates bids the way the I.O.C. does and announces the next year’s location with similar fanfare.
Groundspeak, the parent company of the most widely used geocaching website, has acknowledged the popularity of large scale events by granting “mega event” status to any geocaching event that draws over 500 attendees. There have been dozens of these mega events worldwide, but to date the New York – New Jersey metropolitan area has never had one.
Doug Keating has plans to change that. He is spearheading the effort to bring a mega event to New Jersey this November. “With so many cachers in the metro area and the success of mega events in other states recently, it seemed that now was the right time.”, Keating said. He is not alone his effort however. Keating has enlisted regional geocaching organizations to assist and has assembled a team of individuals who hail from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to handle everything from advertizing the event and lining up sponsors, to planning food and activities for attendees.
Keating is still looking for people who wish to help, as well as potential sponsors. He can be contacted through the event’s Facebook page and there is currently a website in the works where attendees will be able to register, contact the organizers and receive up to date information about the event. A page for the event is also available at geocaching.com.
A typical mega event often includes food, games, entertainment, raffles, geocaching seminars, discussion panels and a vendor court. Most will draw people from a number of states. Because this event is in its early stages of planning few specific details have been worked out, but expect it to have a true Jersey flair. One project underway is the creation of the world’s largest geocoin. An aluminum disc, four feet in diameter is being prepared and will be unveiled at the event.
The event, known as MEtro GAthering, will be held November 15th, at Warinanco Park in Roselle, which was chosen because it is easily accessible from routes 95, 78, 278, 280 and the Garden State Parkway.
So whether you are a long time geocacher, a novice or a non-geocacher who would like to learn more about this burgeoning activity, be sure to mark your calenders. This promises to be a fun day and one that might make New Jersey geocaching history.