Game brings thousands to Butler County seeking doughnuts, adventure

Greg Neff, of Springboro, left, helps a couple from Canada fill out their log after they found a hidden cache behind Central Pastry in Middletown. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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Greg Neff, of Springboro, left, helps a couple from Canada fill out their log after they found a hidden cache behind Central Pastry in Middletown. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

If you’re driving around Butler County and you see people staring at their GPS, don’t worry: They’re just looking for a doughnut and a cache.

Thousands of people are in town this week as part of a geocaching event called GeoWoodstock the Queen City.

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Geocaching is like a real-life treasure hunt where you use a GPS to find hidden items, called caches, with other participants. This event — the first in the United States — is expected to draw more than 10,000 people Saturday at Coney Island, organizers said.

While in the region, many of them are in Butler County trying to conquer the Butler County Donut Trail GeoTour. If the participants collect 15 caches using coordinates off their GPS, they can receive a sweet coin from the Butler County Visitors Bureau.

Kathryn Truccco, senior marketing manager for the visitors bureau, said more than 250 people from around the United States stopped by the office on Thursday and she expects at least that many today. There are about 1,000 coins to be given out, she said.

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This morning, the parking lot of Central Pastry in Middletown is packed with out-of-towners looking for the caches that was hidden under a brick by the back door. While they were there, many of them stopped inside for a doughnut.

“This week has been crazy,” said Vera Slamka, owner of Central Pastry on Central Avenue.

She said about 70 percent of the people who walk into her shop have bought at least one doughnut.

“They are doughnut out,” she said with a smile. “It’s been fun talking to all these people.”

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She even has a map of the United States inside the doughnut shop where visitors are encouraged to place a pin where they’re from.

By the time Kalvin Kados, 33, of Canada, reached Central Pastry, he had eaten 10 doughnuts, he said.

“My max,” he laughed.

Then he walked into Central Pastry for one more. At the end of the trail, he plans to return to his hotel and fall into a “food coma,” he said.

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Greg Neff, of Springboro, said he began playing GEO because he was looking for something to get him and his wife to get out of the house and away from the TV.

“It’s like a game,” he said. “You get hooked.”

Truccco called it “a real life treasure hunt.”

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