Despite the inherent stress, underlying fear, and instinctive pessimism brought on by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic causing the shuttering of daily life across the region, hope springs eternal for area residents and families in the form hand-made rainbows that have begun to dot the landscape. The rapidly growing 518 Rainbow Hunt Facebook group has connected the figurative hands of people across upstate New York and beyond with feelings of hope and positivity. Families and businesses from Schenectady and Clifton Park to Hudson and Hillsdale, NY have joined the social media sensation of placing homemade rainbows of every shape, size and artistic expression on their front windows, doors and even driveways. The goal of the group is to create a rainbow scavenger hunt for kids who are invariably stuck inside for most of the day- the effects have since permeated age demographics and are inspiring folks everywhere to persevere the storm of area lock downs and health concerns. According to the popular groups creator, Scotia, NY resident Kristyn Dayter, the Facebook group was created as a “A great fun way to be with family, get outdoors and be socially distant during this 2020 CO-VID19 Outbreak.”

What began as a spirited local trend has now added well over 80,000 members from around the globe. According to an article in the Daily Gazette, Ms.Dayter says, “It is something for kids to do while at home with their families. It lets everybody have a craft during the day or the evening, whenever they’re free to do it. Then, during the day if it’s nice, it gives an opportunity for kids to go out either for a walk or a drive with their families, you can’t literally stay in your house for two weeks and never leave; that’s not healthy for anybody. People should use common sense obviously. As long as you’re not gathering, I don’t think it’s an issue.” For members of the group and anyone looking for a scavenger hunt of unprecedented proportions, the rules are simple,

Per the 518 Rainbow Hunt Facebook group page:

“If you have a Rainbow in your window, snap a photo and tag the street/area/neighborhood as well as the town you’re in so those near you can go for a walk and hunt for your rainbow!
(Avoid posting your house number )

Any photos posted (in and out of the group) use the hashtag #518RainbowHunt

Share and invite friends so we have plenty of hunting to do!

Remember to stay in small groups limited to your family circle and follow all CDC guidelines regarding the Coronavirus to do your part in ‘flattening the curve.’

Be sure to respect others’ property and privacy while you’re on your hunt!

Remember to practice general internet safety when posting. Do not share your exact address.
Even if you cannot get out and Hunt for Rainbows, Scroll through the group and view all the beautiful artwork done by all our local families and bring some sunshine (and Rainbows) to our hearts!”

Despite the Federal Government’s decision last week to extend the nation’s ‘social distancing’ guidelines through April 30, groups like the 518 Rainbow Hunt have proven the power of togetherness across the area, and continue to endear themselves to families, businesses, and even prominent landmarks. Late last weekend in New York City, the epicenter of the country’s pandemic, one of the most recognizable buildings decided to get in on the act. It is not uncommon to see the Empire State Building lit up for a number of different reasons and causes, but it appears recently the time-honored tradition has come to recognize the significance of the rainbow hunt and the hope it has created throughout the Hudson Valley when it was brightly adorned with its own colors of the rainbow amidst the iconic Manhattan skyline. Now, the rapidly growing group is using its influence to partner with Schenectady based Bowled Co.-the first all-in-one casual restaurant offering salads, açaí bowls, grain bowls, oatmeal, smoothies and other healthy offerings- to form the ‘The Rainbowl Train’ an initiative formed to feed those in healthcare working on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic. Working in conjunction with donations from area residents and supporters of the 518 Rainbow Hunt, volunteers are donating bowls from Bowled Co. to area hospitals as communal thank you for the sacrifices they have made every day since the start of the viral spread across our region. According to a Facebook post, the communal efforts of the initiative have already begun, “Thanks to our Rainbow Hunters and Bowled Co., In less than 48 Hours we have raised $1000‼️ Our first stop along the RainBowl Train Route will be this Monday (April, 6) at St. Peter’s Hospital. We will be bringing 30 Bowls to all the staff on the ICU Floor that is filled with COVID-19 Patients.”


If you wish to support the efforts of the 518 Rainbow Hunt group and their Rainbowl Train initiative please visit:

-by Griffin Cooper