Kids enjoy local Easter egg hunts; parents enjoy nice weather
Uncharacteristically cold weather throughout the month of March worried local Easter egg hunt organizers, but mother nature pulled through just in time for the events on Saturday. Under sunny skies with a high just shy of 60 degrees, hundreds of children rushed to collect as many eggs as possible at both the Towanda-Wysox Kiwanis hunt at Towanda Memorial Park and the Monroe Hose Company sponsored hunt at Mountaineer Park in Monroeton.
With the warm temperatures brought record breaking participation numbers, as parents enjoyed the weather and children enjoyed the candy and prizes.
Kiwanis Easter egg hunt event organizer Sue Schwab said she was surprised at how well the weather treated them for the day.
In the past 25 years of the event, there have been instances where the hunt was held with snow covering the ground, she said.
Seven volunteers helped for over two hours filling plastic eggs with fruit flavored candies. After filled, the eggs were placed around Towanda Memorial Park, taking approximately another hour of work. In all, it took the estimated 100 children about seven minutes to collect all the eggs and return to a pavilion for counting.
The competition is split into seven age groups, with the top three children in each winning prizes for gathering the most eggs. Prizes included stuffed animals, namely bunnies, for the younger age groups and chocolate bunnies for the older hunters.
The event is sponsored by the Towanda-Wysox Kiwanis, and is free to anyone who wishes to participate between the ages of two and eight.
"The mission of the Kiwanis is to help the world one child at a time," volunteer Eileen Sheets said.
The Easter Bunny entertained children as they waited for prizes to be announced by club president Frank Schwab.
Sue Schwab said she is unsure exactly how long the event has been taking place, but it has been a tradition for over 25 years now.
The hunt will be held in the same location again next year, once again on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
A similar scene could be found about one hour after the Kiwanis hunt at Mountaineer Park in Monroeton, at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Children crowded around event organizer Louise Benditt as she explained the rules and guidelines before letting children swarm the egg covered field. The participation this year was shockingly good compared to years past, she said.
"I can remember years where we only had a few children in the three to five age group, this year we have a lot more kids," she said.
She guessed about 100 kids attended; scattered throughout three age groups: three to five, six to eight and nine to twelve.
About 1,500 eggs, which took Benditt and her family four days to stuff, disappeared from the field in five minutes. Fifteen minutes later, all prizes had been claimed and the park emptied quickly. The event is offered free to the public and funded by the Monroe Hose Company.
Benditt said the hunt is possible thanks to her husband Kevin, and daughters Catie and Nicole. Together the family bought candy, stuffed eggs and then put them out, a process which she said took "about four days on and off."
The winners of the Towanda-Wysox Kiwanis Club's egg hunt were:
Age 2: First place, Jordan Lichtenfels; second place, Liliyi Benjamin; third place, Hailey Post
Age 3: First place, Amber Morse ; second place, Emma Shaffer ; third place, Cameron Allis
Age 4: First place, Elizabeth Shaffer ; second place, Allison Chilson ; third place, Ava Anderson
Age 5: First place, Brooklyn Evans ; second place, Jordyn Post ; third place, Mason Higley
Age 6: First place, Robbie Atkins ; second place, Janaya Stroud ; third place, Marco Hettich
Age 7: First place, Shaedi Morgenstein ; second place, Austin Bailey ; third place, Alex Bowman
Age 8: First place, Amy Moores ; second place, Thailey Franklin ; third place, Jasmen Wilcox
Special prize: Melody Wright