By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The hottest thing in Trousdale County right now really rocks. No, really, it is just that – rocks.

Painted rocks have been turning up at businesses, inside and outside buildings, in the park, at churches. It might be difficult to find a spot where a rock hasn’t been hidden over the past month or so.

Yellow Jacket Rocks now has its own Facebook page, created by Kimberly Brown. As of Friday morning, the page had 870 members.

Emily Brown paints rocks as part of the Yellow Jacket Rocks campaign.

The idea is that when a painted rock is found, wherever in Hartsville/Trousdale County it is found, that the finder post a picture of the rock to the Facebook page and then re-hide it for someone else to find.

Brown’s daughter, 10-year-old Emily, came up with the idea that has gone viral – Hartsville style.

“We were in Wilson County, where I found my first rock,” Emily said. “I wanted to spread the joy here in Hartsville; the exciting feeling I got when I found my first rock.”

The Yellow Jacket Rocks campaign is based on that of 615 Rocks, a similar concept taking place across Middle Tennessee. The 615 Rocks Facebook page currently has almost 23,000 followers and several cities and counties have their own 615 Rocks pages on Facebook as well.

“We didn’t create it; Wilson County has one, Macon County has one, 615 Rocks has one,” said Kimberly Brown. “We thought about it before I decided I would create the (Yellow Jacket Rocks) Facebook page. Little did I know that it would take off to this magnitude!

“I really think Yellow Jacket Rocks, compared to all the other communities, has shared more love in leaps and bounds than any other community out there. Seeing the remarks on the page has been heartwarming.”

These are some of the rocks found as part of Yellow Jacket Rocks.

After Yellow Jacket Rocks began to take off, Brown’s daughter came up with the idea of a prize rock.

Kimberly purchased a Subway gift card, which was to be hidden with a rock once the page reached 575 members.

“We hid it at night thinking no one would see us,” Brown said. “Forty-five minutes later, that rock was found. It was a blessing.”

Brown then approached McDonald’s, which donated 50 cards for free ice cream cones. The cards have been attached to more rocks around town.

As the idea has blossomed, other local organizations have joined in on the fun. First Baptist Church and the Fred A. Vaught Library have scheduled painting parties.

“We’ve had lots of kids and their parents at our building hunting them and hiding them,” said Megan Lee, director of the library. “We’ve had two painting days and we’re going to have two more before school starts (July 27).

“It’s been really fun. We feel it’s like a real-life version of Pokemon Go.”

“We’re seeing families get together and have paint parties,” Kimberly Brown added. “One parent told me, ‘We’re getting kids off their video games and out there having fun.’ ”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
This rock was found at the Vidette office last week and was re-hid soon afterward.

There are no specific rules for hiding rocks, but some requests have come from various businesses and agencies.

Those hiding rocks are asked not to hide them on private property, or to ask first before doing so;

Sheriff’s officials have asked that rocks not be hidden on the jail property;

McDonald’s has asked that rocks not be hidden inside the restaurant (outside is fine);

Rocks can be hidden both in the library or outside;

The owner of the car wash on Broadway does not want rocks hidden at his business, and has stated he will throw them away if found there, citing potential damage to cars.

“The businesspeople have become involved too,” Kimberly said. “It’s not just for the young; it’s for any age.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.