More than 300 children were smiling Saturday morning at the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club’s annual Easter Egg Hunt in Memorial Park.
Good attendance – and great weather – also had Tillsonburg Kinsmen’s Walter Ellenberger smiling after watching nearly 4,000 foil-wrapped chocolate eggs get picked up in a matter of a few minutes.
The Kinsmen had distributed 60 bags of chocolate eggs in three areas at Memorial Park. There were also two special prizes available in each age category – 5-and-under, 6-9, and 10-12 – for those who found a plastic egg and a kinder egg.
A&W Tillsonburg helped sponsor the event, providing goodie bags for the kids, supplemented by chocolate purchased by the Kinsmen Club.
“The Great Root Bear is always a success,” said Ellenberger. “You’ve got to have The Bear here.”
Tillsonburg Kinettes sold hot dogs, chips and bottled water in the parking lot.
“I think it was just under 4,000 eggs today,” said Ellenberger. “And I’d say there was at least 300 kids… maybe 300 to 400.”
“Probably close to 400,” nodded Kinsmen’s Rob Haines. “That candy went quick.”
Back in 2008, the last time Easter arrived in March, Memorial Park was covered in ice and snow. They had good attendance that year, too, but the kids were bundled up in winter gear.
This year, Ellenberger was closely watching the long range weather forecasts.
“Always,” Ellenberger smiled, “Always concerned about the weather. I’ve been checking the weather every single day – I can’t sleep at night. Usually, they’d have the seven-day forecasts and I’d be checking it and saying ‘Oh look at that, no snow!’ Sunny all day!’…. and it was, right up till now.”
“A beautiful day, this is the best day of the year so far,” said Haines.
The Kinsmen passed the 20-year mark running Tillsonburg’s Easter Egg Hunt, going back to 1992 at Participark.
“There’s a lot here who are third generation,” said Ellenberger, noting at least two Kinsmen who had grandchildren in attendance Saturday.
“When the Jaycees folded, myself and Dan Haines took it on and we ran with it. My kids always loved going to it, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to see it end. This is for the kids.’ And every year it’s been successful.”
“This year, too,” nodded Rob Haines, 29, who remembers going to the Kinsmen Easter Egg Hunts at Participark. “I’d say this year was a complete success.”
As the Easter Egg Hunt grew in size over the years, they needed a bigger location, and it moved to Memorial Park.
“Participark didn’t have enough parking,” said Ellenberger, recalling people parking on the side of the road and kids arriving late. “It was too small. We had so many kids, it was way too small there.”