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Children dye eggs the old-fashioned way

April 03, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Colored with a technique Darc Easton knew as a girl, the Easter eggs at Washington County Rural Heritage Museum featured none of the eye-popping pastels younger people might expect.

For 11-year-old Chad Hutzell, that was just fine.

"They're pretty cool," Chad said, twirling an egg dyed with boiled onion skins as he played checkers with his sister, Alyson, 8.

Chad and Alyson were among the children who received eggs dyed the old-fashioned way during an event Sunday at the museum.

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"When I was a little girl, they didn't have different dyes ... pinks, yellows and purples, so our mothers had to find ways to color the eggs," museum volunteer Easton told a group of children before instructing them to select a white egg to be submerged in a soup of boiled onion skins and vinegar.

According to Easton, 76, who leads children's activities and games at the museum, people used plant products, including onion skins and beets, to color eggs before store-bought dyes became common.

"This is the way eggs were dyed and colored prior to 1940," she said.

In a basket on a table set up for the activity, four eggs displayed the browns and rust colors left over from a bath in onion-skin broth.

Dawn Hutzell, the mother of Chad and Alyson, said the Rohrersville family came to the free event as a way to spend time together.

"I was just pretty much looking for something to do. I have five kids, so I'm just always looking for something neat to do," she said.

Nikole Kotanko, 11, who stood near a wooden loom with her father, Kevin Kotanko, said she enjoys dying eggs.

"The best part is painting - dying," said Nikole, of Funkstown. "And, oh yeah, the eating, especially the yolk."

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