Of the two holiday traditions that involve small children dressing up and going out into the community, some sort of handled container in hand, with hopeful anticipation of bringing it home filled with candy, Easter is the swiftest. And reporters for local newspapers are drawn to the photo opportunities these Easter egg hunts provide as well.
This year, the Tribune challenged its weekend reporter to attend a hunt in each community listed in the Tribune’s Community Calendar. There was just enough time in between each to attend, photograph, and jump back in the car and drive to the next. Each hunt, while similar, had a little something all their own to offer their communities.
Great Bend Kiwanis
The Great Bend Kiwanis Club sponsored the community Easter egg hunt again this year at the Argonne Forest at Veterans’ Park. Starting at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, kids had their work cut out for them, getting dressed, being nice to mom and dad, and getting everyone out the door into the family car to drive to the park and take their place on the starting line. But, any kid who’s had to orchestrate Christmas morning presents has the skills to get it done. From the looks of the line up, Great Bend kids have those skills in spades. They held the line at the south end of the field patiently, bundled against the breeze, until the siren sounded. Moments later, the field was cleared. A quick perusal of the baskets indicated that the Kiwanis didn’t hold back.
Community Egg Hunt
The Tribune exited the Argonne Forest and quickly headed north. The Hoisington Community Egg Hunt was set to begin in 25 minutes. Plenty of time to make it to Cardinal field, even fighting the north wind. Once we arrived, we were delighted to see the Easter Bunny had made it to Hoisington, and wasn’t shy about taking photos with the kids waiting in line.
Out on the field, women from the Hoisington community and helpers they’d rounded up were scattering candy and eggs across one section of the field. They were improvising that morning, only scattering enough at first for the babies and toddlers, with plans to do the same for each of the other age groups in turn. The wind, it turned out, was blustery enough to roll the plastic eggs across the field, so some of the helpers were tasked with stopping and rolling them back into place.
About five minutes before 10 a.m., the children came through the gate and began lining the south side of the field. The women waited till the last moment to toss out some toys and pinwheels into the mix of candy and eggs, and the hunt began. Meanwhile, the hunt for the next group was set up. Hoisington is no stranger to the wind, having had a similar experience last year.
Larned Civic Pride Egg Hunt
Leaving the Easter Bunny taking photos with kids in Hoisington, the Tribune made its way to Larned for the 11 a.m. hunt at the Larned Community Center lawn. How that Easter Bunny beat us there, we can’t say, but it did. All around the community center, there were plots for each age group filled with eggs and candy. But, the kids were milling around the parking area, because that’s where Easter Bunny was, and so was a dinosaur. And there were free cinnamon rolls! They were tempting. After the egg hunt, which started on time, there was a pinata for each age group to break. Little kids are great with pinatas. They take the stick, they try their best to hit the pinata, and then they let the next kid take a turn, until finally, either they break the pinata, or a kind grownup does, and a gentle free-for-all begins.
With older kids, however, breaking the pinata is a whole other experience. The girls seem to hang back while the boys position themselves for maximum opportunity to take the stick, hitting the pinata like Salvador Perez hitting a homerun. And soon, the pinata is toast. When that happens, watch out. In less time than it takes to blink an eye, the kids pounce on the candy like rival football teams pouncing on a fumbled ball. Adults might make feeble attempts to remind them to share, and to be careful, but clearly they aren’t heard. Not to worry, though, as no one left in tears, but rather invigorated and smiling.
Ellinwood Annual Lions Club Hunt
Back in the car again, we checked the schedule. The Annual Lions Club Hunt in Ellinwood started at 1 p.m., so the Tribune had time to stop in Great Bend before continuing on. It gave us time to look over some of the photos from the morning. Good thing we set a timer to make sure we didn’t leave too late. The drive to Ellinwood was uneventful, but the wind was still bound to be an issue. When we arrived, once again, we found the hunt would be divided into age groups, with the three-and-under crowd by themselves on a field and the rest of the kids by the playground and the swimming pool.
Little ones were low on patience, and, sure enough, the wind was blowing hair every which way. More than a couple little kids attempted running onto the field hoping to jump start the hunt, but they were no match for parents who rushed after them and scooped them up, returning them to the starting line. They didn’t have to wait much longer for the signal to start.
One group of Lions Club volunteers who supervised an older group of kids had a story to tell. One child showed up a few minutes late, they said. While they were prepared for such an eventuality with extra candy, it turns out the other kids were generous and filled the child’s basket from their own. There’s certainly an Easter lesson in there somewhere, but we’ll leave that to more qualified professionals to find it. Happy Easter!