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More than 250 children brave wet weather for egg-citing hunt at Ag Center

April 23, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alician@herald-mail.com
  • Lillian Doyle, 2, of Hagerstown, collects eggs with her parents Saturday during the Easter egg hunt at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

Amelia Bowman was dressed for the occasion.

Sporting a white bunny suit for fun and leopard-print rainboots for function, the 4-year-old was ready for the task at hand — searching the wet hills for eggs.

Curly hair and bunny ears bouncing, Amelia scrambled for plastic eggs on the grounds of the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

Amelia's mother, Sarah Bowman, of Fairplay, said she takes her children to the event every year.

"It's so beautiful out here at the Ag Center," Bowman said. "And it's nice to come out and do something festive and run into neighbors and classmates. It's really well-organized and nice for the community."

The event was sponsored by the Washington County Recreation Department along with Friends of the Rural Heritage Museum. Hagerstown Community College athletes filled the eggs.

Amelia's reasons for attending the hunt were simpler than her mother's.

"I always see candy and I love it," she said.

Recreation Department Program Coordinator Marsha Moats said the hunt is a tradition of more than 10 years. While it is billed as a "rain or shine" event, weather conditions last weekend led organizers to postpone the hunt for a week.

"We had intentions of doing it even through the rain, but it was just too severe with the flood warnings and all," Moats said.

This week's weather forecast wasn't much more promising. Due to overwhelming response to the egg hunt in previous years, Moats said the Recreation Department limited registration to 500. But with rain and low temperatures early Saturday morning, she wasn't sure how many registrants would attend.

"We were kind of worried, but we went ahead and stuffed 6,000 eggs," she said. "So if one kid showed up, he was gonna go home with 6,000 eggs. We were OK with that."

More than 250 children plus their parents turned out for the hunt despite the weather, Moats estimated.

Among them were Madison Wade, 5, of Hagerstown, and her sister Emma, 8.

Mindy and Mike Wade, their mom and dad, said they weren't concerned about rain. Mindy Wade noted that there were fewer participants than in typical years. That left more candy for her daughters and other attendees. Madison attributed her bountiful collection to something different.

"I am 5 now, so I know how to look better," Madison said. "Plus my grandma hid chalk for me so I could practice for Easter. Look how much I got!"

Cindy Whitmer of Fairplay said her daughter, Hannah Middlekauff, 6, usually is less concerned with the quantity of eggs she gathers than with the color.

"She only goes for the pink eggs," Whitmer said. "Now that she is getting a little older, she's realized there is a prize inside some of them. So she's ventured out a little."

Dustin McIntyre, 6, of Boonsboro, found one of the prize-winning eggs. In addition to the candy and stickers from his eggs, he walked off with a large basket filled with treats.

His mother, Wanda McIntyre, said the hunt is "all about the enjoyment of the kids."

"Just watching them — it's great," she said.

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