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Bad eggs spoil hunt

March 26, 2001

Bad eggs spoil hunt



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

When planning last Saturday's Easter egg hunt for children at the MIHI Spring Crafts Show, organizers never expected they'd wind up calling the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

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The hunt was part of a two-day event by MIHI - Many Individuals Helping Individuals - held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center near Sharpsburg Saturday and Sunday.

The children weren't a problem, but some of the parents were, Linn Hendershot, chairman of the show for the past two years, said Monday.

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"If we kept the parents at home and just sent the kids," all would have been fine, he said.

Between 500 and 800 youngsters and their parents were on hand for the hunt, MIHI officials said.

Some parents broke rules, some cheated and some called her "vulgar names," said Juanita Bloyer of Country Crafts Creations, a MIHI member who lined up the vendors and coordinated the show.

Things got so out of hand at one point, Bloyer said, that she called the Washington County Sheriff's Department for help.

A deputy went to check out the situation but took no action, Sheriff Charles Mades said Monday.

Bloyer said that as she had hoped, the appearance of a deputy calmed some parents.

Bloyer and others involved with the egg hunt said the problem was caused by only some of the parents but they disagreed on the severity of the situation.

Bloyer said she believed most of the parents broke rules while Hendershot said he believed most obeyed the rules.

Only children were supposed to hunt for eggs but some adults actively assisted, MIHI officials said.

There was a set time for each age group to start hunting the eggs. But before the first phase of the hunt began, some parents started searching for the 2001 Easter eggs hidden on the property, Hendershot said.

The event offered prizes totaling $500 worth of U.S. Savings Bonds.

Other rules, which were announced during the event, also were ignored by some parents, Hendershot said.

"Well, several of them didn't get the word. Or didn't want to hear it," Hendershot said.

The event will be held again next year but MIHI will ask the Police Athletic League to help with enforcement of the rules.

It was a learning experience, Hendershot said.

"We have to try to do a better job," he said. "I can promise you it will never happen again."

MIHI was formed in 1987 to raise money for recreational facilities for disabled children, said Executive Director William Beard. He said the organization's mission has been expanded to include senior citizens and disabled adults.

Beard said the egg hunt was the victim of successful marketing.

"We were overwhelmed by our promotion work," he said.

Hendershot said organizers had not expected so many people to show up.

The rest of the weekend events went well, he said.

The weekend event raised about $2,000, which was MIHI's goal.

The money raised goes toward MIHI's matching share of a $75,000 state grant to build a playground at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park in Halfway.

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