By DIANE R. CHODAN
OBSERVER Staff Writer
“Egg-citement” fills the air when children participate in Easter egg hunts. On Saturday, at least three were held: in the Laona playground, at Christ Community Church on Berry Road in Fredonia and at Millrace Park in Stockton.
The object, of course, was to find Easter eggs; but each hunt was slightly different.
Laona’s hunt was the earliest, starting at 10 a.m. This event has a long history. Over 100 children participated this year. Evie Sievert, the dynamo who has been part of the planning since the beginning said, “It has been going on for 27 years.”
Kathy Buckley, Debbie Buckley, Lindy Stranahan and Marcie Sievert planned and worked with Evie this year.
In addition, Kyleigh Ortiz was dressed up for the role of Easter Bunny. She explained that she wasn’t going to look for eggs herself.
“My job is to go around and talk to the kids,” she said.
Don Rankin brought his daughter Samantha for the second year.
“This is a nice event,” he said. “And I make a small donation.”
Lauren Marsh from Laona came with her grandpa, Harold Marsh from Sheridan.
Harold smiled down at his granddaughter and said, “She’s not shy when she’s with grandpa.”
The solid chocolate bunny went to Morgan Sievert. The stuffed bunnies were given to Kyleigh Ortiz, Ruby and Lily VanValkenburg, Charlie Thompson and Hunter Vincent.
There were no losers here. Each child two and under got a small stuffed animal. Children received gift bags of treats when they turned in their eggs or even if they had not found any.
The organizers also sold tickets for a bike raffle. The winners of the bikes were Timothy Brunecz and Charlie Thompson.
Christ Community Church on Berry Road in Fredonia attracted a large number of families for its hunt at 11 a.m. This is the third year for the event. Billed as the 1,500 egg event, there were actually 1,600 eggs to be found.
Church volunteers parked cars in the lot and asked people to step into the church activity center. There Marc Samworth welcomed the families. Each child could take a bag with an Easter design that could be colored. Inside each bag were the materials to make a butterfly (a Christian symbol of the resurrection). While waiting for the hunt to start, the children could color the bag and assemble the butterfly.
There were three separate areas to hunt. Inside the community center, a room was used for pre-school children. Wendy Heslink who worked in this space, put out eggs in obvious places. When these were gathered she would put more out, so that every child got a chance to find at least one egg.
Heslink said, “We wanted to make sure the little ones had a chance to find an egg.”
In one area outside, children kindergarten through second-grade hunted and in another, third- through fifth-graders searched for eggs.
The plastic eggs were filled with treats and small prizes. After the hunt, families returned to the activity center for juice and cookies. Several children sat on the floor, emptying the contents of the eggs into their bags and then returning the eggs to a large plastic tub. The church is hoping to have a 2,000-egg hunt next year.
Joanne Lotter, a parent who attended with her son Matt, said, “This is an amazingly wonderful community event. It was very well-organized.”
Samworth said, “Angie Bacon who works with youth ministry put this all together and did a wonderful job. … We divided into three groups because we didn’t want the younger kids being trampled by the older ones.”
At 2 p.m., the town of Stockton held its second annual Easter egg hunt. The fire engine from the Stockton Fire Department was at Millrace Park with its lights flashing.
While the sky was blue, and the weather clear, the major difference in Stockton was the snow on the ground. The children there came dressed for the weather. Many of the children seemed to enjoy playing in the snow, some making and throwing snowballs.
The large live Easter Bunny (a.k.a Town Supervisor Dave Wilson) could have been mistaken for a snowman against the backdrop of white.
With his usual good humor, Wilson greeted children and posed for family pictures. Using his dry humor he confided, “These are future voters, so maybe I can stay in office.”
Here the children were divided into two groups, ages one through five and six and up. The two groups had different sections in which to hunt.
It was the first egg hunt for Journey Alaimo who was accompanied by her mom, Melissa Alaimo. They found a number of eggs. The colors showed up well in the snow.
Cookies and cocoa were available for the families. Recreation director Joelle Dziduch said, “The cookies and cocoa were donated by myself and some people from the fire hall.”
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