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Ponoka Rockz set to begin rock snake project called ‘Ponochio’

If you’re looking for a fresh creative venture, ‘Ponoka Rockz’ may be just the ticket.
A few examples of what you might find around town thanks to the Ponoka Rockz group. (Photo submitted)

If you’re looking for a fresh creative venture, ‘Ponoka Rockz’ may be just the ticket.

Tapping into a popular trend, the group’s members paint rocks in all kinds of colourful ways with designs and positive messages and then hide them around town for others to find.

They are about to expand in a new way by launching a ‘rock snake project’ called ‘Ponochio.’ This particular project was the brainchild of members Carol Johnson and Diane Lebrun.

The Town of Ponoka recently gave its blessing for the project to be created in Lions Centennial Park.

But things got off to a bad start as someone has already snatched some of the rocks.

“I came to the park this morning, and someone had stolen our rock snake rocks,” said Johnson just prior to press time. “I am so disappointed.”

Johnson is asking the person who took the rocks to please return them. “If you want to add a rock you are more than welcome to.”

In the meantime, the rock snake is to be located at the park’s south entrance, where there is a giant dedication rock and two flower gardens around it.

“We are going to start our rock snake there,” said Johnson.

Those interested in helping out can drop by the park on Monday mornings at 10 a.m.

“We’ve been meeting at the little covered tables by the splash park,” she said, adding folks are asked to bring their own rocks and art supplies. “Our snake is also going to be called ‘Ponochio.’”

Ponoka Rockz was launched four years ago by Callyanne Weyts.

“She had seen the Lacombe rock painting group and thought we should try it in Ponoka,” explained Johnson.

Weyts started the Facebook page for the group, and it wasn’t long before folks started to sign up, including Johnson.

“I jumped onboard right away because I’ve always been crafty and I have a love of rocks, too. My family teases me that I pick up rocks wherever I go. And now I paint them!

“The idea is just to brighten someone’s day or to cheer them up if they find a rock,” said Johnson, adding that the original movement began in the U.S. under the name ‘The Kindness Rocks Project.’

“They can keep the rock that they find if it’s special to them, or they can re-hide it in a totally different spot for someone else to find.”

Acrylic paints are ideal along with a sealant to keep the bright colours and messages clear and intact.

“I’ve left them at the hospital, at the bottle depot, the bank, the grocery store — other stores, on lamp posts, street corners. It’s fun and it’s exciting,” she said.

“I also enjoy it when people post a picture of where they found a rock, and they usually say, ‘I’m keeping this one, or I re-hid it,’” she said. “I love seeing kids’ reactions, or the reaction of those who just really needed an uplifting message.”

Meanwhile, any size of rock is ideal for painting.

“I like to do a lot of inspirational sayings — uplifting messages. I like to use words like ‘joy’ or ‘believe’ or ‘grateful’. And I’ll also try to include some sort of little picture, too,” she said, adding she’s decorated about 200 rocks to-date.

As for Ponochio, Johnson said a sign will be put up telling folks that if they would like to ‘switch out’ a particular rock that they take a shine to, that’s just fine. That way, the snake won’t ‘shrink.’

“We just don’t want the snake to vanish,” she added with a laugh.

Rocks that the group decorates are typically labeled, and those who find them are encouraged to post a photo and tag Ponoka Rockz when they discover the rock.

And who knows where they might end up?

Recently, Johnson gave the group Washboard Union — who performed at the Ponoka Stamped — a rock to hide on their travels.

“I personally have hidden rocks as far away as the west coast,” she said. “A friend of mine went on a trip to England and I did some Canadian rocks with our flag and the Maple Leaf. She hid them around London, England!

“It’s fun and it’s neat to see where some of these rocks might end up.”

For more information, find ‘Ponoka Rockz’ on Facebook.

Photo submitted

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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