Better start brushing up on your Wichita knowledge: The Eagle Medallion Hunt is almost here.
This year the hunt begins on Thursday, June 1.
The prize? $1,000.
The Eagle Medallion Hunt is a Riverfest tradition in which participants follow clues to search for a plastic coin, 2 inches in diameter, hidden on public property in Wichita. Only one person can claim the prize – so if you search as part of a team, you’ll have to designate one person to turn in the medallion.
Last year, the medallion was found in two days – taped to the underside of an old water fountain in Edgemoor Park.
The year before, it was found on the fifth day in Emery Park, tucked underneath a Copenhagen can lid near a row of trees. In 2014, it was found on the last day of the Hunt. Only once, in 1978, did no one find it.
The clues and hiding place do not require any digging, trespassing or damaging of public property. People who do so, or who don’t obey park operating hours, will be disqualified.
Starting Thursday, clues will be published daily in the print Wichita Eagle and on Kansas.com. The final clue will be published June 8.
If you want to be the first to get out and start looking, your best bet is to purchase a print copy of the paper. Single copies of The Eagle typically begin arriving at stores like QuikTrip, Dillons and the like around 3:30 or 4 a.m. every day. By 6 a.m., the papers are distributed to most stores.
Papers are distributed from downtown outward, so if you’re looking to be one of the first to get one, try one of the downtown QuikTrip locations.
On Kansas.com, the clues are published around 7 a.m. daily.
Customarily, The Eagle’s clue-writer publishes obtuse clues as to the medallion’s location, and people line up before dawn to grab a copy of the paper.
Only two people at the Eagle know where the medallion is hidden, one of them being executive editor Steve Coffman.
“I’ve heard about the Medallion Hunt off and on since I moved here in August, and I’m excited the time has now arrived to experience my first hunt,” Coffman said. “I hope participants will have as much fun looking for the medallion as I had scouting for a location to hide it. I got to explore some places I hadn’t been yet during my time in Wichita. I look forward to watching the hunt play out and hopefully seeing someone win that $1,000, which would make for a nice beginning-of-summer shopping spree.”
This is the 43rd anniversary of the Medallion Hunt, nearly as old as the Riverfest itself – and this year’s cash prize hearkens back to the hunt’s early days, when cash prizes were standard.
The contest will end at midnight, June 8, or whenever the medallion is found. You have until 3 p.m. on June 9 to return the medallion to The Eagle’s headquarters, or else no one wins the prize.
The Wichita Eagle, 330 N. Mead, is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The contest is open to legal residents of Kansas who are at least 18 years old as of June 1, 2017. Employees and their immediate family members of The Wichita Eagle, the McClatchy Company, and Wichita Festivals Inc., and board members of Wichita Festivals Inc. and their immediate family, are not eligible to participate.
For full contest rules, visit www.kansas.com/riverfest.