Monday, 1 April 2013

Local children hunt Easter eggs in spring sun

The moment is tense — the egg hunt was supposed to start nearly 10 minutes before, but no one has yet announced the start, an eternity of waiting for the hunt’s kindergarten and pre-school-aged participants.

When the announcer finally shouts “Go!”, 80 4- to 5-year-olds surge forward with baskets, bags and buckets in hand, and their parents trailing behind them.

Just a few minutes of hunting later, a cool 1,000 plastic eggs have been cleaned from the middle school lawn and the remaining children are now sitting down, removing the candy, stickers and erasers from plastic eggs.

This was the scene in one of the age divisions at Philomath Middle School during the annual Easter egg hunt, which is in its 17th year.

“It’s madness,” said Jeremy Goodrich, a Philomath High School senior who has volunteered at the hunt for three years. “They all sprint out and grab (the eggs). It’s crazy.”

Cheri Stouder, a Philomath resident who has been organizing the hunt since its start, said it typically has around 300 participants. Planning for the hunt begins after Christmas for Stouder, who said she and other organizers prepare and hide 8,000 eggs for the hunt.

Stouder said the Philomath Lions Club and the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo sponsor the event. The eggs are packed by the EXCEL class at Philomath Middle School, and Philomath High School National Honor Society students hide eggs and run the hunt’s five age divisions.

“Once you get to this point, it doesn’t take a lot with the kids helping,” she said.

The hunt in Philomath is “non-competitive” said Stouder, and each age division has 1,000 eggs placed in the field. The amount of eggs each child is allowed to take depends on how many kids sign up for each age division.

This year, kids in the 10-11 age group were allowed to take 45 eggs each, while age groups with more participants were asked to take fewer eggs.

Shawn and Rogan deCalesta, twin 9-year-olds from Eugene, both said they “might have gone a little over” the 45 eggs they were allowed.

Abby Faust, an 11-year-old student at Philomath Elementary, said she got 45 eggs. She said the hunt was easier for her than for her younger siblings, who were in age groups with more participants.

She said if her siblings did her favors, she would share her candy with them.

Stouder said she doesn’t advertise the event because the organizers can only handle so many participants. She said she started the event because the community needed an egg hunt.

“It’s a good little community event,” she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment