A false alarm set eager children loose moments before a fire engine was ready to honk the start of the third-annual Easter egg hunt at Grant Park.
This was the biggest hunt to date for the event’s organizers, who scattered about 15,000 eggs throughout the South Perry District park for hundreds of children to snatch.
“I only got five,” said Aaron White, 6. “Everybody kept stealing eggs I was going for.”
But next time, he said, “I’m definitely getting more, and the next one, I’m getting 1,000.”
The hunt had a chaotic start, volunteers admitted, but all the children got their turn at the candy-filled eggs – even the younger ones like 17-month-old Calliope Vaughn, who buried her face in her chocolaty hands, ready for a nap in the arms of her father, Tim Vaughn.
During the first race she “jumped the line and took off,” Vaughn said. “She instinctively knew what to do.” The little hunter came back with one purple egg.
“We just make sure the little kids get one,” volunteer J.D. Davis said.
The crowning moment of the hunt for Mikyla Cardwell, 7, was when she saw the glint of a rare, shiny golden egg. The park was filled with the sounds of Cardwell’s crying and screaming as she ran back to her mother, egg in hand.
“I’m just really excited I got the last golden egg,” Cardwell said. “I think I’ll just save it and remember this Easter.”
It was difficult to count the kids, but organizer Christine McCabe said there seemed to be more visitors than ever before. The hunt increased its egg count by 5,000 from last year.
The cancellation of Riverfront Park’s annual egg hunt left some families looking for another, so volunteers saw some new faces as well.
“You see so many kids and families having fun,” organizer Anna Rowe said. “That’s what the neighborhood is all about.”