The annual Easter egg hunt was headed for disaster until a community-minded frog hopped to the rescue.
The makings of a Mother Goose tale? Nope. Reality in Spokane.
Saturday’s popular Riverfront Park egg hunt was set to be canceled this week until local radio station KNFR, also known as “The Frog,” assumed the role of Easter Bunny and stepped in to save the day, said Dale Larsen, the park’s events coordinator.
This year’s version of the popular event, which has drawn hundreds of kids to the clock tower for the past 16 years, looked like a bust after Tidyman’s Warehouse Foods withdrew its support.
For the past several years, the grocery chain has donated all the eggs for the hunt as part of its community relations efforts.
But this year, Tidyman’s decided to spend the egg money on a nutrition-education program in local schools, said Patty Kilcup, a company spokeswoman.
Kilcup said Thursday it wasn’t the company’s intent to kill the egg hunt.
“We’re just doing some different things this year,” she said. “I wouldn’t say we pulled our support. We’re just taking our resources and putting them somewhere else. We have a budget, too.”
Kilcup said she notified Larsen in plenty of time for him to recruit another chief sponsor. He never let on what impact Tidyman’s withdrawal would have on the event, she said.
“I’m just surprised by this. If they had called and alerted us, maybe we all could have put our heads together and come up with a solution - maybe splitting the costs with someone else,” Kilcup said.
Larsen had nothing bad to say about Tidyman’s. “They’ve helped us for years and years and years, and been great to work with.”
But the decision left him scrambling to find someone to donate the 8,000 eggs required for Saturday’s festivities.
On Wednesday, he gave up and announced the event was cancelled.
Enter KNFR-FM, a Spokane country-western station.
Jay Daniels and Kevin James, who make up the station’s morning drive-time DJ team, heard about the crisis and decided to do something about it.
Daniels and James, dubbed the “Good Morning Guys,” put out an appeal for help during their Thursday show.
The response was immediate and overwhelming.
Dozens of people called in with donations of eggs, dye and money, James said. Marriott Food Services at Gonzaga University gave 3,000 eggs.
The staff at Evergreen Junior High offered the use of the school kitchen for boiling eggs, and someone donated the services of a refrigerated truck.
The final tally: nearly 8,000 eggs and $500 in cash.
“In just a few hours, we were back on again,” Daniels said. “If it weren’t for our loyal listeners, this never would have come off. They deserve the credit.”
The free event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday near the clock tower. The hunt is open to kids age 10 or younger.
Larsen is grateful that the radio station stepped in to fill the void.
“It’s a cool event for the little kids. They get all dressed up and have a great time,” he said.
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