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Turnout better than expected for chilly Easter egg hunt

April 08, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN-Terrified ducks scrambled in every direction Saturday afternoon as about 550 children stormed City Park to take part in a massive Easter egg hunt.

The fourth annual Great Egg Hunt at City Park was sponsored by the Tri-State Fellowship, an Evangelical Free church on Cearfoss Pike.

Eric Boutieller, one of the event's organizers, said volunteers distributed about 13,500 plastic Easter eggs in three zones throughout the park.

Each zone represented groups in three age groups - 3- to 4-year-olds, 5- to 8-year-olds, and 9- to 11-year-olds.

Wal-Mart donated a large portion of the eggs, Boutieller said. The congregation purchased the rest.

Boutieller said the turnout was better than expected despite the cold weather.

Typically, a few hundred more children participate, he said.

Temperatures reached 37 degrees during the egg hunt, according to www.i4weather.net, a Web site that is maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

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Every participant received a bag of candy when the event was over.

But the big prize came to a trio of children, each of whom won a bicycle for finding one of three golden eggs that were hidden among the sea of others.

William Fowlkes, 9, of Hagerstown, however, won a bike for being in the right place at the right time.

Because all of the bicycles were made for boys, William said an anonymous little girl who found one of the golden eggs gave him her prize.

"I was surprised," William said. "I just got a new bike. I have three bikes now."

Brandie Rickett said she had a good time watching her children, Donavon, 7, and Cayden, 2, hunt for Easter eggs.

"I'll say (the egg hunt) was lovely," said Darrell Briscoe, 15, of Hagerstown. "I got to see a lot of kids go out and have fun.

"It's all for the Lord. The Lord has blessed a lot of people here today."

Boutieller said the event was organized in an effort to "recenter the focus of Easter."

"It's about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus," he said.

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