POINT PLEASANT — The annual Elf Hunt sponsored by LifeSpring Community Church is returning to the West Virginia Farm Museum.
The event moved to a drive-thru event in 2020 due to COVID-19 and worked so well, it will continue to be a drive-thru event.
“We’ve decided to stick with that method of the Elf Hunt because it was really successful,” said Claire Cottrill, Elf Hunt coordinator. “And it seemed to be more enjoyable for families.”
The event is free and Cottrill said elementary age and younger tend to enjoy the event the most, but everyone is welcome.
During the elf hunt, vehicles are directed through what is the normal path for viewing the Farm Museum’s annual Christmas lights. The light show is currently from 6-9 p.m. each night through December 20, the night before the Elf Hunt.
“What happens is cars will come into the farm museum, and they’ll be greeted by some people from our church, and then they’ll be directed toward the driving path,” Cottrill said.
Cottrill said everyone should bring their flashlights to help spot the elves.
“As they’re driving through, they can roll their windows down and get out their flashlights and start looking around for magical elves that are hiding in the woods and maybe some of the buildings and that that they have there at the farm museum,” Cottrill said.
The goal of the event is for the children to find the hiding elves with their flashlights.
“The elves are usually found doing some silly things,” Cottrill said. “Sometimes they’re dancing or doing flips. They’ll shake their jingle bells so that children can hear them,. You can typically find them that way.”
Cottrill said the church tries to make the event fun.
“It’s just a really fun time,” Cottrill said. “We just try and make it a really fun, free event for everyone to enjoy, just to kind of enjoy a little bit of the magic of Christmas.”
Cottrill said last year the drive-thru went smoothly and some vehicles even went through the line multiple times.
“One thing that we found was really fun last year is for people who had trucks, they would put the children in the bed of the truck with an adult once they got into the Farm Museum,” Cottrill said. “That just made it a lot easier for them to be able to look around and spot the elves.”
Cottrill said she started thinking about why the Elf Hunt is done and realized that she has been involved in the hunts her entire life.
“I grew up with Elf Hunts my whole life,” Cottrill said. “I was an elf hunter, as a child. Back then it was a private, like friends and family event. And when we turned it into a whole community [event], it was really just invented to create a space for families to enjoy the holidays together in a way that didn’t cost any money.”
Being simple for families to just show up and enjoy, was something Cottrill said was important.
“In our church, we really believe that God is the creator of fun and joy and togetherness,” Cottrill said. “We just hope to share that message with out community, that we believe God created fun and we want to have fun with our community and just celebrate the joy of the holidays together.”
While the event is free, Cottrill said they are accepting monetary donations that will then be given to the local fire department to help support the holiday food baskets the department provides each year.
Cottrill expressed the church’s appreciation of the Farm Museum allowing them to host the Elf Hunt each year.
“We hope that people will support them throughout the year, making donations and letting them know how much we appreciate the light display that they put on,” Cottrill said.
The annual Elf Hunt takes place on Tuesday, December 21 from 6-8 p.m. at the West Virginia State Farm Museum.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.