Within the next two months, several thousand people from around the country and world will be coming to the local region to enjoy what it has to offer.
These people are participants in a worldwide phenomenon known as geocaching, a technology-based game in which players use handheld GPS receivers to locate hidden containers. Two of the nation's largest annual events bringing participants in the game together will be held locally in coming weeks, and event organizers are busy putting the final touches on the grand-scale festivities.
ASP GEOBASH VI
Nearly 1.4 million geocaches are hidden worldwide. In coming weeks, thousands of geocachers will be coming to the area for a pair of ‘‘mega events,’’ including the Super Bowl of geocaching, Geowoodstock.
What began as a picnic in the woods for local geocachers in 2006 has grown over the years into one of the largest ''mega events'' for the hobby in the Northeast.
Allegany State Park Geobash VI will be held May 20-22 at Camp Allegany in the Red House area of the park, and the event committee says that it is planning for yet another large turnout. Last year's event brought out more than 1,100 geocachers from across the United States and Canada, as well as a few from Europe.
Information about geocaches, including the latitude and longitude at which the can be found, is listed online at geocaching websites - the most popular of which is www.geocaching.com. Geocaches can range in size from large boxes to containers as small the size of a pencil eraser. The larger caches usually contain souvenir items that can be traded out for items brought by the finder, while all caches - no matter how small - contain a log book to be signed as proof of the find. Online, geocachers may post information about their find and keep track of their geocaching statistics.
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown, 18 E. Second St.
The story of an orphan girl and her dog, Sandy, who escapes and finds the family she always wanted. For more information, call 483-1095.
* 0 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: ''Shannon and Friends'' concert
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Bemus Point United Methodist Church, 4954 Bemus-Ellery Road
Cost: $10 pre-sale, $12 at the door
Concert to benefit Ryan Samuelson, a 9-year-old boy recovering from his second kidney transplant. Featuring performances by Shannon Nixon, Angelo and Ylsa Giuffre, Kira and Jordan Spencer, Jamie-Lee Bonfiglio-Davis, Matt Warren and Karen Buck. Pre-sale tickets available at Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
* 11.3 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Lovefest 4
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Allen Park Ice Rink
Show to benefit David Love Memorial Scholarship. Performances by A City Burning, The Progression of a Man, Solomon Verse, Red Light Departure, Head of a Poet, and many more.
* 1.7 miles from downtown Jamestown.
There are currently 40 geocaches hidden within the 65,000 acres of Allegany State Park, with plans for 20 more to be hidden in advance of the event. Geocachers who make the trip in for the event will also likely travel outside the park to search for the many hundreds of geocaches hidden in nearby towns, villages and cities.
During the three days of the event itself, additional activities are planned for visitors including geo-golf, an ammo can toss (ammo cans being traditional geocache containers), a pinata, a Chinese auction, a family movie night, a geocoin expo, geocaching seminars and more. Souvenirs including T-shirts and geocoins will be available from the event store.
The welcome center for the event will officially open at 1 p.m. Friday, May 20. Admission is free. For more information about the event, visit www.aspgeobash.com.
Each year, the event of all events for geocachers around the globe in Geowoodstock. Its location has changed each year, but it has always been in the southeastern or western part of the United States.
This year, it will be in the Northeast for the first time, at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Pittsfield, Pa.
While the event is officially a one-day-only affair - Saturday, July 2 - numerous surrounding events are being planned to welcome the several thousand geocachers from at least 47 states who are expected make the trip. Attendees from Europe and Asia are also expected.
Nearly 2,100 geocaching accounts - many of which represent more than one individual - have already registered for the event online, and organizers say that this year's Geowoodstock could set a geocaching attendance record. The cachers will congregate in Warren County during the first weekend in July and pump a huge amount of money into the local economy, event co-organizer Wes Ramsey said.
''It could mean up to $2 million for the regional economy,'' Ramsey said, adding that the figure is what the Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council targeted when it helped construct the winning bid that landed the event. ''Warren doesn't have enough hotel rooms, so it's definitely going to benefit the whole region.''
In addition to the main event at the fairgrounds on July 2, a train ride from Titusville to Oil Creek State Park is being offered on July 1. A geocoin expo event will be held in Youngsville following the event Saturday night, and a handful of welcome events are being planned as well, including one in Corry on Wednesday, June 29. A ''Cache In, Trash Out'' event is also being planned on the fairgrounds following the event, giving geocachers the opportunity to prove to the community that they can pick up after themselves and leave the area as tidy as it was when they arrived.
While making the event one's first exposure to geocaching would be like making the Super Bowl one's first exposure to football, newbies will be welcome to stop by the fairgrounds during the main event July 2 and learn a thing or two. Educational classes in geocaching will be offered, as will classes in geocaching etiquette and caching with a smartphone. Advanced geocaching courses are also planned, as well as kids' activities including bird banding, a treasure hunt and a coloring area.
Registration packages including souvenirs and meals are available for the event, though anyone is also welcome to stop in and visit for free. For more information about the event, visit its website at www.geowoodstock.com.