So many eggs, so little time for the six- to eight-year-olds (top) at the Meshoppen Holiday Fund Egg Hunt held last Saturday. Eight-year-old Caddy Hartman (above, left) of Jenningsville won a bike and got a hug from her younger cousin, Ayvah Bonning of Tunkhannock.
Photos and story by Rick Hiduk
(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)
The Meshoppen Holiday Fund Easter Egg Hunt was billed as a “rain or shine” event, and organizers were prepared for the worst on Saturday. Thousands of plastic eggs, each containing candy or a prize slip, were packed meticulously in paper bags with color-coded handles. If the overnight rains had persisted through the morning, key coordinator Holly Stark was prepared to conduct the entire event under the pavilion at the Meshoppen Ballpark.
Not only had rains ended by 9 am, a canvassing of the ball field on foot by several volunteers about an hour later determined that all but the ball diamond was firm enough for the outdoor scramble for the eggs to proceed. The colorful eggs were removed from the bags and distributed in three large ovals to accommodate three of the five age groups as families arrived from all directions to the park.
Police officers Sierra Crane and John Krieg parked along Canal Street with flashers on to alert oncoming traffic of the street full of excited people, as Jenny Graham and other helpers prepared coffee, hot chocolate, and hot dogs for the guests. Mariah McClain directed the setting up of the prize tables, where egg hunters would redeem their slips for larger pieces of candy, toys and one bicycle per age group.
Infants to age 2 went into the field first, selecting a bag full of eggs from a table (above) with the help of their parents and caregivers. The next three age groups – 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12 – were directed to the field, where they formed large circles around their egg lots and scrambled to fill their bags and baskets when Stark gave the “ready-set-go” signal. As the 9 to 12-year-olds prepared for their scramble, the Easter Bunny’s helpers distributed the final batch of eggs along the north bank leading toward the post office.
Not every community egg hunt allows adults to participate, but Stark began including them in the 13 and older, or “13 to 113” category as she puts it, several years ago. It has proven extremely popular, and the older participants actually have to line up at the opposite end of the field and make a mad dash for the bank to find eggs, many of which are hidden in the taller grass and along the stone wall. The laughter of participants and the smiles on their faces leave no doubt that there is a still a bit of a child in all of us.
Stark remarked that it would be impossible to conducted the annual egg hunt and the Halloween parade and party in October without volunteers, including her husband, Rick Stark, Graham, McClain, Mike Houser and many others. But, she also relies on the support of local businesses and individuals to donate prizes and cash toward the perpetuation of the popular events. To learn more about how to support the Meshoppen Holiday Fund, interested readers may call Stark at 570-833-4317 or message her on Facebook.
Photos by Rick Hiduk
The level of enthusiasm seems to be mixed as parents line up with their babies for the first round of bag selection at the Meshoppen egg hunt on Saturday.
Emma Cona, held by her mother, Anna Sherwood, looks over her options for a basket full of eggs, hoping for a big prize.
Nobody had to ask excited Angel Hummel, 2, of Mehoopany twice to hop on her new bike.
Three- to five-year-olds race for their eggs.
It’s every kid for themselves as nine- to 12-year-olds snatch up eggs.
Nine-year-old Kira Marbaker of Meshoppen had already found a good use for the handlebars on the bike that she won on Saturday.
The degree of difficulty was appropriately higher for those participating in the 13 years and older category.
Thirteen-year-old Damian Franklin of Black Walnut successfully beat out a lot of adults to win a bike during the egg hunt by the oldest participants.
Additional random photos by Rick Hiduk: