All About Geocaching Events

Recently someone asked for advice for attending a geocaching event, as they did not want to be clueless when they arrived.  I think a lot of us feel that way when attending something new!  So these are my experiences, and a few tips.  I had forgotten how many awesome events we have attended over the past 10 years.  Not just geowoodstock, but a geocaching wedding.  A snake seminar, an amazing race, a haunted Mega, ASPGB 3 x (LOVE those night caches there!) a 20 mile bike ride that was an event, breakfast events...  so many fun events.

Geocaching Events are gatherings of geocachers. These events range from meet-and-greets to geocaching education seminars, to environmental cleanups. 
Find an event near you by clicking the date on the calendar below.

Basic Event  Tips:
1. Log a will attend, so the host knows people are coming!
2. Don't just drop off trackables, but do bring them along.
3. Read the event description - it will tell you what to bring
4. If the area is rural, download the caches nearby to an offline list before you go
5. There's almost always a group photo. But if you miss the photo, you can still log the cache, as long as you sign in during the event.  There are often many other photo ops - take your camera.  
6. It's almost always perfectly fine, even expected, to leave the event, find some caches, and come back.
7. Bring cash for the raffles and vendors (if you want  - its not mandatory!)

Geocaching has a guide for hosting geocaching events, here:

There Are Many Different Types Of Events.

 There are meet & greets - often, but not always, held at restaurants.  Sign in, order some food, chat with the group.  Share some travel bugs, there might be a small raffle.  Some areas have a regular monthly meet and greet on say, the first Tuesday of each month.

There are flash mobs.  Similar to meet and greets, but often held in  a parking lot.  Show up, sign the log, chat with cachers, get a quick group photo - go geocaching.

There are regular events.  Often held at a park, frequently including extra scavenger hunts and games, and a pot luck.  Most include a raffle.  Geocaching events often include chinese auction style raffles.  And almost always a group photo.

There are also specialized theme events.  Berwick geocachers held an Introduction To Snakes event - with live snakes and a speaker who talked to us about safety, and the different types of snakes we might see while hiking.  We've also attended a Poker Run event.  Another really fun one was an Amazing Race themed geocaching event.  We have even attended a geocaching wedding that was an event!

There are CITO events.  Cache In, Trash Out.  These are events were geocachers meet specifically to clean up an area. Cache In Trash Out® (CITO) is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. Since 2002, CITO has helped preserve the natural beauty of cache-friendly spaces. In that time, more than 240,000 people have volunteered at 11,000 CITO events. Twice per year, geocachers can earn virtual souvenirs by hosting and attending events during CITO weeks. Visit the Help Center for information on the next CITO week.

Then there are Mega Events.  These are usually jam packed with extra activities and classes and things to see and do.  Sometimes these have lab caches.  Most Mega events are annual events. "Mega-events are the ultimate gatherings for geocachers. Officially, events must surpass the 500 attendees mark to qualify for “Mega” status. Many Mega-Events are held annually, offer plenty of planned activities and attract geocachers from all over the world."  At every Mega I have attended, we've also had the opportunity to take photos with signal.  Also, look for the lackeys (representatives from geocaching HQ) at the mega events, they usually have pathtags or swag they are handing out.

And of course there is GeoWoodstock every year - a HUGE event bringing cachers, speakers, vendors, lab caches, and often much more.

Group Photo at the Owego Cito, May 2017

There Are Many Different Types Of Geocachers

Often one of our favorite things about geocaching events are meeting other geocachers.  Sometimes that is our least favorite part of geocaching events too.  It's the same as attending any other event, geocaching related or not.  But it can be really fun to cache in a group after an event.  A group often has people who can climb a tree, and people who can spot things out of place quickly, and someone who can understand what that clue means, or someone who has seen that type of cache before, or someone who is REALLY good at puzzle caches...  working together, you can often find caches that maybe would have been more difficult to find on your own.  The more you hear about other geocaches, and the more you see how others approach finds, the easier it gets to find some of the more challenging caches out there.

Molly (#TheAdventuresOfMollyMouse) who is trackable, with the horse mask trackable, at a flash mob event.

There Are Lots Of Trackables

Most geocachers would prefer you not drop their travel bugs on the travel bug table at any event.  So many get lost that way.  But, lets be fair, travel bugs disappear no matter how they are handled.  Still, it's great to take travel bugs to an event and place them in caches while out, or hand them off to someone who can get the TB closer to it's goal.

NOTE - some travel bug owners do not like their bugs "discovered" at events.  Try to be respectful of that wish, but any travel bug owner should know that once they send the bug out there, they will have little control over what happens next, and most will just be happy if the bug keeps moving and isn't lost.

This is a great time to put your trackable magnet on your vehicle, and take along your favorite trackable item to be discovered by others.  Our dog Molly is trackable , and we find that she is a great conversation starter.  People like to "discover" her, and pet her too.
This is also a great time for a trackable nametag.  It's great to write both your geocaching name, with your actual name under it, on these for events.

If you have been to geowoodstock, or a large event where neck wallets (I looked it up, that's really the correct term.  I'm surprised too) were part of your package, it's perfectly acceptable to wear that nametag (neck wallet.  Still weird) to other events.  We saw a lot of people with them at the ASPGB event last week-end, and they were from different geowoodstocks over the past years.  

Often, serious trackable collectors will have lists of their trackables for you to discover.  At the ASPGB last week-end, we traded cards with another cacher - he had business size cards listing all of his trackable items.  We have a card with a link to my geocaching posts on this blog (the QR code will take you right to the link) and has the trackable numbers for both Molly and our Cachemobile.  That makes it easier for people to discover those items when they get home, and are especially great for areas where there is no cell coverage to quickly enter trackables in the field.

There Are Often Pathtags
I'm pretty out of the loop on pathtags and admit I don't really understand...  but Datruck really wants his own, so I'm learning.  Apparently it's just a coin version of a business card (but with a design, not an address or info) that you trade with others.  You can buy them sometimes, to commemorate different events too.  They look like mini geocoins, but unlike geocoins, pathtags are meant to be collected, you do not have to place them in another cache.

There Are Lots Of Games
In addition to the raffle, and the group photo, we typically see Geocaching Bingo, an Ammo Can Toss, and a Scavenger Hunt, at most of the bigger events.  Sometimes there is a poker run.  There are often more games than you can possibly play at one event, if you plan to eat, cache, and chat with others.  It's ok to not play any of the games, or to try and play as many as possible.  You choose.

Geocaching Bingo
There are dozens of versions of Geocaching Bingo, but the premise is the same.  Find someone who has done each of the items listed, and have them sign the square it applies to.  Here is one example of a Geocaching Bingo board:

Another example:

Both of these examples are easier than the last two bingos I have seen.  Sometimes, especially at Megas, I think the event organizers customize them a bit knowing that some of the cachers attending have done things like find 100 caches in one day, cached in so many states, hidden one of each type of geocache, etc.

Ammo Can Toss

This is a fun game that is usually played at the ASPGB, as well as a couple of other events we have been to.  Ammo cans are filled with weights - most often rocks.  There are usually three cans - a large one for the men, a regular for the women (sometimes painted pink) and a smaller one for the children.  You stand on the line and toss the can.  At the end of the event, whoever threw the can the farthest wins.

Poker Runs
As with everything, there are a variety of ways to do a geocaching poker run.  The basic premise is that you go to 5 geocaches, collect a sealed envelope with a playing card inside at each cache, then return to the event where you all open the envelopes at the same time and reveal your hand.  Best poker hand wins.

Here's someone elses write up about one they attended -

Years ago, we attended an event that was simply a poker run.  We met up, got the list of caches to find, then met up again to compare hands.  It was in Northwestern Pa and the caches were really spread out.  I still remember this as one of my favorite events - we had a blast, and there were lots of cachers to meet at each cache we found.

Recently we were at the Haunted Village Mega event in Waterloo NJ (another of our favorite annual Mega events!) and they had a Poker Run as one of many activities that day.  

(What other games have you seen at geocaching events?  I'd love to include them here)

Sometimes, There Are Lab Caches
"A Lab Cache is an experimental and extremely rare geocache type. These geocaches are a way for us to innovate and test new ideas to make geocaching even better.

These mostly work the same as regular geocaches: navigate to the location, find the cache and sign the logbook. However, these differ in that you must use the find code in order to mark the geocache as found."

The Logs Are Often Unique
Some events do just have a plain piece of paper you sign in on.  But others are a bit more creative.  At geowoodstock in Boonsboro MD, we signed a satellite dish.  At the Haunted Mega in NJ, we signed a skeleton.  At flash mobs, we've signed white boards.

Events I Have Blogged:

NEPAG 10th Anniversary Event

ASPGB 2017

Hyde Park Cito

Merchlinksy's Geobash of 2010

We've been to Geowoodstock twice - and I haven't done a good job writing about either trip. I did write about the one in Warren Pa, but oddly enough, I didn't include any photos?

Photos from a Geocaching Wedding Event

Photos From The Metro Village Haunted Gathering (one of my favorite events!)

Photos of a bike riding event -

Photos From Geowoodstock XIII

Photos from the Snake Event -

Events We Have Attended:

Attended05/20/2017 ASP Geobash XII New York  Visit log
Attended05/20/2017 Stoned in a Flash!! New York  Visit log
Attended05/19/2017 ASP Geobash Bonfire Meet & Greet VI New York  Visit log
Attended05/19/2017 Stoned in a Flash... in PA!!! Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended05/18/2017 2016 Metro Gathering Event ~ Haunted Village New Jersey  Visit log
Attended04/30/2017 Sunday CITO at Hyde Park Owego New York  Visit log
Attended04/29/2017 NEPAG 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/10/2016 Berwick Geocachers Indigenous Snake Class 101 Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended04/16/2016 Berwick Geocachers Breakfast And Caching Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended02/29/2016 Leap Day!! Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended10/24/2015 Our Amazing Earth! Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended08/09/2015 It's A Nice Day For A White Wedding ! Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended05/24/2015 Meet Us at the Point Maryland  Visit log
Attended05/24/2015 GW Bikers Ride Again! Maryland  Visit log
Attended05/24/2015 ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? III West Virginia  Visit log
Attended05/24/2015 PAGA at GeoWoodstockXIII - Potomac Park flashmob Maryland  Visit log
Attended05/23/2015 GeoWoodstock XIII Maryland  Visit log
Attended08/27/2011 Bloomsburg Geo Bash 2011 Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/03/2011 NCTA’s Kinzua Beach Geobash  Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/03/2011 GeoWoodstock IX Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/02/2011 GWS Pow-Wow on The Little Brokenstraw Creek Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended06/29/2011 Event for Early Birds to GeoWoodstock Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended05/22/2011 ASP GeoBash 6 New York  Visit log
Attended08/14/2010 Bloomsburg's Geo Bash Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/24/2010 Merchlinsky Geo Bash 2010 Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended07/09/2010 A NEPAG Summer at Worlds End State Park Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended05/24/2010 ASP Geobash V New York  Visit log
Attended03/05/2010 TGIF At The Diner  Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended02/05/2010 Tgif Is back  Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended12/04/2009 TGIF HOHOHO Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended08/02/2009 Welcome "Back" To Bloomsburg!!! Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended11/18/2007 2nd Annual "Meet us in Woolrich" Event Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended11/03/2007 Geocaching: A High Tech Adventure Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended08/26/2007 Northumberland County Geo-Bash #2 Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended06/30/2007 Ricketts Glen Cache n’ Camp Mini Event  Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended05/12/2007 (Grid 34) Geocaching Poker Run Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended09/23/2006 Summer's End at Worlds End Pennsylvania  Visit log
Attended08/20/2006 Schuylkill 2nd Event Pennsylvania  Visit log