Children must hop to it if they expect to come away with a basket of treats of the season during the upcoming Community Easter Egg Hunt.
The 57th annual event, conducted each year at Donner Center in Columbus, draws as many as 1,000 people.
“It’s the fastest two minutes in entertainment,” said John Foster of WCSI Radio, which organizes the event with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.
A swarm of youngsters quickly descend on approximately 7,000 plastic eggs filled with candy and trinkets. Most years, the eggs are gone within two minutes.
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Foster will provide a vocal countdown for the 10 a.m. start.
“Some families will show up as much as an hour beforehand,” Foster said. “I’m always amazed. The crowd just sort of swells each year.”
The crowd will include Columbus residents such as Curtis and Whitney Hartwell, who plan to bring children Sawyer, 3, and Sebastian, 6, for the seek-and-find fun.
“It’s like a treasure hunt for them,” Curtis Hartwell said.
The Donner egg hunt is one of several scheduled during the Easter season.
Kathy McPeek, Columbus Parks and Recreation Department’s recreation program manager, said the gathering is among the city’s oldest programs. Inclement weather has pushed the proceedings inside for egg distribution only a few times in the past 20 years, as best McPeek can remember.
The Columbus Police Department and Columbus Fire Department add to the attraction by bringing along vehicles that youngsters can see up-close in the park. Plus, the Easter Bunny attends to greet children and pose for cellphone shots.
Organizers remind parents that an early arrival often is necessary simply to allow ample time for parking and moving to the proper area for each age group. The event begins promptly at 10 a.m. — and sometimes that has left latecomers with an empty feeling, to say nothing of an empty basket.
Foster scarcely can imagine the hunt ever fading in prominence and popularity.
“I think that’s it’s in the very blood of this community,” he said.
What: Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, with categories for various age groups of children through age 8.
When: 10 a.m. March 26.
Where: Outdoors at Donner Park, 22nd and Lafayette streets, Columbus. In case of rain, eggs will be distributed inside Donner Center.
Parking: Front and back of Donner Center, along the streets around the park, or in the city lot at 17th and Sycamore streets across from the city cemetery. Parking for people with disabilities at 17th and Sycamore streets near the basketball court. Drivers can be guided by parking attendants.
Admission: Free. Organizers remind parents that partcipants must bring their own basket for eggs.