IPSWICH — If you’re walking on Crane Beach this summer and stumble across a blue and silver sand dollar, pick it up.
It might be a key to some Ipswich treasure, though not the buried kind.
If the sand dollar says “winner” on the back and carries the phone number of the Ipswich Visitor Center, you have won a prize package.
It’s part of the Ipswich Sand Dollars campaign, designed to celebrate all things Ipswich and boost traffic for downtown merchants, who are often bypassed by those heading to the 4.5 miles of pristine beach. The campaign is being run by town officials, business people and artists, in collaboration with the Trustees of Reservations.
Kerrie Bates, director of the town’s recreation and culture department and manager of the visitor center, said the scavenger hunt may have an economic development incentive, but just beneath the surface, it is a way to get people to enjoy the restorative power of a long walk on the beach.
Starting Memorial Day and over the course of the summer, 50 man-made silver and blue sand dollars will be placed on Crane Beach. They were designed by sculptor Michael Updike (the son of novelist John Updike, a former town resident) and created by a giftware company in Manchester-by-the-Sea called Mariposa, which focuses on finely crafted, one-of-a-kind decorative items and tableware. Updike is one of its designers.
All the sand dollars carry the phone number of the Ipswich Visitor Center at 36 S. Main St. Those who call the number will be asked to go to the visitor center to pick up one of the prize envelopes, which are filled with donations from local artists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, boutiques and restaurants.
Among the prizes is a large party platter from Mariposa’s sand dollar collection. An Ipswich company called Working Goods, an online distributor of Mariposa’s products, provided a discount to make it possible, Bates said.