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Great Bend Kiwanis Club has been coordinating Easter Egg Hunt for more than 50 years
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One young girl couldn’t contain her joy or her enthusiasm as the signal sounded and the hunt began. Great Bend Kiwanis Club members have been coordinating the hunt for more than 60 years, all in pursuit of their mission to give enjoyment to children.

In the run-up to Easter, the Easter Bunny made an appearance in Great Bend Saturday morning at the annual Kiwanis Club Easter Egg Hunt at the Argonne Forest on the north end of Veterans Memorial Park. Families began lining up along the south side of the walking trail there, with hundreds of plastic eggs and countless pounds of candy ($800 worth) already scattered across a wide section of the park by club members. Earlier in the wee, members of the Rosewood Aktion Club met and filled over 500 eggs with candy for the event, Barb Esfeld, the club secretary said. 

Club member Mike Nicholson has been coordinating the hunt for the last 20 years, but it’s history traces back at least 60 years, Esfeld said.   

“The Club chartered in 1939 and it may even have started back then,” she said. “It originally started on the courthouse lawn but was moved to Vets several years ago.”

Hundreds of children, separated by age group, make a mad dash to pick up eggs and candy scattered by members of the Great Bend Kiwanis Club earlier Saturday morning. The club’s annual tradition may go back 60 years, with club member Mike Nicholson coordinating the hunt for the past 20 years.

Amy Kyle was at the park with her two granddaughters from Olathe.  

“They came here to hunt eggs at a nice, safe hunt,” Kyle said. They joined the multitudes of families lining the starting line for several hundred feet.  

Great Bend Police officers arrived in time to visit with club members before sounding their siren promptly at 9:30 a.m., signaling for the hunt to begin. In a rush, children charged the field, some running to the edge and working their way back, others stopping near their starting points and working their way forward. The field was cleared in moments, something Kiwanis members remarked on earlier in the morning as they distributed the treats. 

“It starts at 9:30 a.m., and its over at 9:30 a.m.,” one member said.

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Of the several hundred children that participated in the annual Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning, this Great Bend area girl found one of limited amount of special eggs containing instructions to “see the Easter Bunny for a special prize.” Prizes ranged from stuffed animals for the littlest hunters, sidewalk chalk and bubble blasters for kids early elementary school aged, and older kids received a football and a Nerf ball and bat set.

Not quite. Families weren’t in rush to leave, enjoying the mild weather.  Many recalled last years cold front and winds that drove the crowd back to their cars. This year, children took their times sorting through their baskets, opening the plastic eggs, and playing on the equipment at the fitness station.  A few eggs in each age category contained notes directing its finder to “see the Easter Bunny for a special prize.”

 As to how many children attend each year, Esfeld was uncertain. 

“It is really hard to tell,” she said. “All I can tell you is it is always a very large crowd.”

Children of all ages were delighted to gather eggs and sweets as parents followed closely behind to capture the moment.

Kiwanis is a global organization that is dedicated to improving the world one child and community at a time. 

“As part of that mission, we put on events that give enjoyment to children and that is why we do the Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Parade year after year along with other children’s events throughout the year,” Esfeld said.