The hunt for Easter eggs and candy started Saturday morning and continued into the afternoon, with three community events.
The Great Bend Noon Kiwanis continued their long-standing tradition of offering a hunt at 9:30 a.m. at the Kiwanis Walking Track on the north side of Veterans Memorial Park. This year the club skipped the eggs but reportedly spent about $900 on candy, and all of it was gone about five minutes after kids got the green light to go for it. There were areas for different age groups, from preschoolers through sixth grade.
Hundreds of people turned out for the events. After finishing the first one, many families headed to the Sterling House senior living facility, which offered a community Easter egg hunt for the third year. This event was for children 10 years and younger, with the younger kids in the courtyard and older ones directed to a field behind the living center.
Staff at Sterling House filled some 500 plastic eggs with candy, said Joy Crawford, sales and marketing manager. Some eggs contained a numbered slip of paper, and the children who found those eggs received chocolate Easter bunnies.
“We do this to bring the community in and let the residents enjoy the holiday,” Crawford said. Some children took time to interact with Sterling House residents before heading home with another stash of candy. After the hunt, Sterling House offered an early Easter brunch for its residents and their visiting families. They were expecting to serve 160 people.
In the afternoon, the First Assembly of God Church held its annual event, accurately billed as the Giant Easter Egg Hunt. After being held at the Great Bend High School football stadium for several years, this event was moved to the church grounds. Church volunteers directed parking and law enforcement helped direct traffic off of Patton Road once the parking lot was full. Contemporary Christian music was playing, and people were directed into the church before the hunt; they could sign up for drawings, see the children’s sanctuary and watch a movie trailer in the main sanctuary. A prayer was offered that no one would get hurt or trampled, that everyone would have “an amazing awesome time,” and to thank Jesus for what He did on the cross – a brief message about the meaning of the Christian Easter holiday.
Outside, more Assembly of God members were preparing a field for the Easter egg hunt. The Rev. Dave MacKinney said there were thousands of eggs containing candy, but even more candy that was too big for the eggs was placed on the field. After each age group cleared the field, everyone stayed safely behind an orange line as a cannon was used to throw out more plastic eggs and candy. Sometimes the crew turned the cannon away from the field to fire a melon. “The ‘go’ sign will be when the melon hits the ground,” MacKinney explained.