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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Josie Edwards poses with a Bella Vista Rock for a photo that was later posted on Facebook. She and her family also paint and hide rocks as part of the game that has been going on for two years.

For two years, some Bella Vista residents have been walking the trails and public spaces with their eyes on the ground. They are hunting for Bella Vista Rocks.

Although the gardeners in Bella Vista will testify that there are lots of rocks in the area, most of them are pretty ordinary. A real Bella Vista Rock is brightly colored and often has a symbol or a message on it. They are usually hidden in plain sight along a trail or in a parking lot.

There's a procedure that goes along with Bella Vista Rocks. When a person finds one, they are invited to take a picture of it, often along with the person who found it, and post the picture on the Bella Vista Rocks Facebook page. Then they are asked to rehide the rock for someone else to find.

"The kids like to be outside on the hiking trails and in nature and then they find these neat rocks," Jenelle Guardiola-Edwards. Her family doesn't live in Bella Vista, but they visit often and always go rock hunting. They also paint their own rocks to hide.

"We are more abstract painters," she said about the designs, "but this time we put some motivational words on them."

They hid rocks recently and already saw one of them on Facebook. Her 7-year-old daughter, the rock's creator, was very excited, she reported.

The Facebook group was started by Jennifer Helvey, who heard about the game from a friend in Missouri, according to a 2016 interview. She asked that rock painters add the words Bella Vista Rocks to their creations, and she also likes to add a Facebook icon so people know to look for the page.

Although most of the rocks are rehidden, some go home with the finder. A few Bella Vista Rocks have migrated to other states according to the Facebook page.

Ashley Holliman also hides rocks with her children, who are 9 and 4.

"They love it." she said, "Just being able to be interactive. They like to be able to sit down and put their ideas out here."

She sent her husband to gather some rocks at Tanyard Creek for painting and he ended up with a bunch of golf balls as well, so they painted those too.

Some rocks have special meanings, she explained. She's seen some painted as memorials to individuals.

There are also rocks painted for holidays. Most recently, a lot of red white and blue rocks were found for the Fourth of July.

Holliman said she has seen many great design ideas on Pinterest; they can't always copy them. Sometimes they use toy tattoos to add a design to their rocks.

Her father has acrylic paints that work well.

Some people add a layer of varnish over their paint, but other people just use paint.

General News on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Painted rocks still going strong

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