WHITTIER >> The philanthropic social media phenomenon known as @hiddencash surfaced at a Whittier park Thursday night, where hundreds of people showed up to take part in a scavenger hunt by flashlight.
Secluded Penn Park became the latest scene of the Twitter-fueled frenzy after the @hiddencash Twitter account first gave clues to the location where Pez candy dispensers stuffed with cash had been hidden. A handful of treasure hunters who solved the clues arrived first at the secluded park, followed by hundreds more when @hiddencash announced the park by name about 9:30 p.m.
Twenty-five Pez dispensers were hidden at the park, along with two boxes of Pez dispensers, according to @hiddencash.
The candy dispensers contained $40 to $50, while the bonus boxes included $100.
Vanessa Garcia, 26, of Whittier found a Pez dispenser containing $40.
“I’ve never seen so many people here, especially at night,” Garcia said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Garcia’s sister, 22-year-old Alejandra Garcia of Whittier, found one of the bonus boxes.
Alejandra Garcia said she had not yet decided what to do with her newly-found $100. “I haven’t thought about it,” she said.
Kim Vaughn, 43, of Whittier said she was thrilled the scavenger hunt was being held in her town. She searched Penn Park with her husband and children.
“We’ve been following (@hiddencash) all along, just waiting for one nearby,” Vaughn said.
Some searchers brought large flashlights with them. Others searched by the light of their cell phones.
Additionally, @hiddencash tweeted late Thursday that additional loose bills had been hidden along Greenleaf Avenue in Uptown Whittier.
The cash seekers took it in stride when the park sprinklers turned on midway through the event.
“Sorry about the sprinklers! Didn’t plan that,” @hiddencash tweeted.
And while the atmosphere was festive, not everyone was thrilled with the large event at the park in a residential neighborhood, accessible only by one street. Traffic became gridlocked along Penn Street during the scavenger hunt.
“This is awful,” Anthony Nerlino, 26, of Whittier said as people climbed through bushes, next to signs advising visitors to stay out of the shrubbery.
“How much is it going to cost to fix that,” Nerlino said.
Police dealt with large crowds and traffic due to the event, but no major incidents were reported, Whittier police Capt. Aviv Bar said. The park was to be checked in the morning for any possible damage.
Another money drop, this time in Orange County, was to be announced at 10 a.m. Friday, according to @hiddencash.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger – GALLERY