Franklin County ROCKS

Couple’s desire to create fun family activity spreads across county, becomes part of Alabama 200 celebration

Hunter Hamm shows off one of his rocks with the news that Jesus Saves with his parents, Tom and Christina Hamm, at Bay Tree Park. The Hamms got the rock hunting and decorating craze started after enjoying a similar experience in Florida. News photos/Jason Collum

Red Bay | When Christina Hamm and her family found a couple of painted and decorated rocks while on a trip to Volusia County, Florida, she knew she had to bring the activity home with her.

She and her husband, Tom, came back to Red Bay and with their son, Hunter, painted about 30 rocks and hid them in the area. They then launched a Facebook group page to share the project with others.

“I thought it was neat and there was nothing like it around here,” Christina Hamm said.

That was all it took to start a rave. 

In less than a month, interest in the rock hunt has exploded. In just a few short weeks more than 1,340 people have joined the Facebook group and gotten in on the decorating, hiding and hunting. Scores of area residents have been decorating rocks and sharing photos of them on the Facebook group page. They have also been hiding them around town, much to the delight of other seekers.

“It is unbelievable,” Tom Hamm said. “People have been writing us and telling us how they’re spending quality time with their kids that they haven’t had before. Now they’re actually going out as a family looking for and planting rocks.”

“Kids are asking to do this instead of electronics,” Christina Hamm said. 

Emma McKinney, 8, was out last week searching for rocks around Red Bay’s fun Park. So far she has found seven rocks and painted a few. She said she enjoys finding the rocks the most.

“I’ve painted one that said, ‘Believe,’ and I painted one with a cross on it,” McKinney said.

The activity has caught the attention of Tracie Clark at Red Bay City Hall, who is interested in making the search be a part of the Alabama 200 celebration. This year’s theme is “Explore Our Places,” and Clark said the project ties in perfectly with the state’s celebration.