No one could have asked for a more perfect day. The morning broke bright and clear and the thermometer stood at something quite balmy for a late March day. Large crowds ringed the egg-gathering areas at Shady Cove, and in two locations in Eagle Point.
The festivities began first in Shady Cove, the traditional start of the Easter egg hunts, held annually at the Shady Cove School. Not much for cover there, but that is of little import; the bright smiling faces are the reason for all the preparation.
Masons from the Shady Cove Lodge spent hours and considerable expense to make this happen. Two days before the hunt, they began boiling eggs in a secret location in the foothills east of Highway 62 and north of Eagle Point. Once the insides were boiled to perfection, the tedious process of coloring began. Head bunny, Frank Springer, used his secret process to color and sort eggs into the reds, blues, greens and yellows typical of Easter eggs.
The masons colored 7800 eggs for the event. Most were a donation from Willamette Egg farm; some were purchased by the lodge itself. 100 special eggs were set aside and painted bright gold. Those lucky enough to find one of these special eggs redeemed them for another special egg with cash or candy inside.
Springer makes certain that no one goes home empty handed. And he also makes certain that everyone is no older than 12—the upper age limit for the hunt—no matter what their date of birth. As anyone can see, despite his stiffening knees, he is still a child at heart.
When the whistle blew, there was a mad dash to the center of the area, children running over the top of several eggs before even looking down. Even city administrator Danise Brakeman was seen in the crowd, though it is not known if she picked up any eggs. Springer smiled. “This is what it’s all about,” he bellowed.
Down the road just a few miles, the Eagle Point Community Association was readying there celebration, just as Shady Cove was finishing. Five different rings—for five different age groups—were literally covered with stuffed animals and candy of various colors. This is one of the two major events the association puts on each year, the other being the fourth of July parade and fireworks
The usual suspects were there, Bunny Lincoln, Leon Sherman, Suzi Collins and the rest of the gang, making certain to brighten the hearts of youngsters of all age groups. In a matter of just minutes, all the candy is gone and every one of the youngsters has selected a stuffed animal to take home and adopt.
The former mayor was all smiles and Joni Parsons helped youngsters into the lap of the Easter Bunny where they got their pictures taken with the long-eared fellow. Suzi Collins sold raffle tickets for a special basket containing products from around the area for a dollar a throw. In a matter of moments, it was all over.
Just a few blocks away, the Wal-Mart parking lot was literally crammed with cars and a good portion of the lot is cordoned off in anticipation of a big crowd. And there was no disappointment there; dozens of youngsters with parents in tow lined the parking lot behind the tape barricade. Bright yellow, green, red and blue eggs lay in the parking lot, the obvious work of employees and volunteers who covered the area with thousands of plastic eggs. The anticipation is great at these events and with little in the way of cover, all the eggs are in plain view ready to be plucked from the asphalt.
Another event in Eagle Point caught the attention of revelers; this one on Nick Young Road at the Faith Christian Center. Rather than a traditional Easter egg hunt, the church had several activities for children and adults alike. Young people could bounce in the inflatable playhouse and toss bean bags to test their skills and marksmanship. They could do all this with painted faces, and they could do a ring toss on bowling pins. They shot nerf balls with spray bottles, fished in an imaginary sea and tried to throw small plastic balls into water-filled cups. Once they had exhausted their skills, it was off to the kitchen for a hotdog and cotton candy compliments of the church.
The center began the alternative entertainment last year and has kept the tradition alive. The center’s activities began at noon and so crowds had a chance to attend one of the egg hunts prior to arriving there.
On Sunday morning, Rainey’s held their annual Easter egg hunt, but with a slightly different twist. Each youngster had a private area of their own to hunt amongst the hay bales, and they received either a stuffed animal or live chick to take home.
All around the country, chickens were working overtime to produce enough eggs for hunts. The weatherman cooperated and despite Easter arriving early this year, it turned out to be a spectacular day. Hats off to those who worked so hard to make this a special day, their work paid off in spades.