May 28, 2005
Attended Logs: 276
Committee Representative: paintfiction
GeoWoodstock III marked the turning point of the event as it began to grown into a truly national event and easily caused the most controversy of any event up until that time. The host group was railed on for the "commercialization" of the event because they sold t-shirts and geocoins to finance the event. As one host stated, "We were scared to death the geocoins would fail since that had not been done before. What we really believed would be a big hit were GW3 (pin back) buttons we had made up by the hundreds. They were a TOTAL flop. All this seems quaint now. "
We were able to talk Groundspeak into allowing us to put GC.com tracking numbers on our coins which at the time was a pretty big deal. Until then the only trackable geocoins were from GC.com or MtnBike.
The growth of the event did create some hiccups along the way to becoming the world's first Mega-Event. There were some very vocal opinions expressed on the Groundspeak forums from active users at the time over the "quality" of Florida geocaching, since there were many micros in the Jacksonville area. The hosts were even criticized for posting their event far ahead of the time normally used in those days, a feat which was only accomplished with the cooperation of Groundspeak and a few key lackeys. Thankfully, by the time the event date drew near the concept of bringing geocachers together from across the country and world was recognized as performing a positive service for geocaching in general and the honor of the White Jeep TB's being passed out at our event by none other than Jeremy Irish's brother Nate. They even allowed us to have a mobile version of the Groundspeak store at our event.
We prepared a FREE meal for approximately 500 people and had it all served in about 20 minutes. GeoWoodstock III for many years has had the reputation for best food at an event. We also supplied bottled water and soda free for the taking. We never ran out!
GeoWoodstock III was the first to have a tie-dye booth to allow people to customize their event shirt. One of our failures was not recognizing how popular this was. We sold EVERY extra white shirt available and could've sold many more.
GeoWoodstock III was the first to have guided cache runs on the day following the event. These ranged from a numbers run to a muddy 4WD adventure to a walk through historic St. Augustine. We even had a cache run designed to allow those in a wheelchair or otherwise handicapped to participate.
GW3 was certainly the LAST large event to be held without the prior approval of the park management. As one of the hosts remembered, "We were afraid they would say NO so we decided to not ask and just lined up at the gates at 5am and were the first people in the park and grabbed the pavillions we planned to use. The park did not allow pavilion reservations on holiday weekends. I did meet the park manager that afternoon. We rode around in her golf cart and had a nice chat. She was not pleased at first but after a bit of explaining she understood and Geocaching made a friend that day."