Donner Park will feature nearly more eggs than a poultry farm come April 15. And it almost seems that feathers fly when a siren sounds to announce the official start of the greatest two minutes in spurts, when local youngsters quickly scramble for treats and trinkets.
Therein lies the festive fun of the Community Easter Egg Hunt, where Peter Cottontail would be duly impressed the way children hop to it when it comes to collecting 7,000 colorful plastic orbs.
And, make no mistake, the event that attracts 800 to 1,000 people truly finishes in about 120 seconds, give or take a lonely forgotten egg or two.
“Something kicks in with these kids,” said John Foster, on-air morning personality for WCSI Radio, which organizes the event with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. “They realize that, with just a little bit of work, they can get a nice haul of candy.
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“There’s something very Midwestern, small-town about all this that still holds a great deal of charm.”
The Meridian Kiwanis Club purchases the plastic eggs and candy. Members of Mill Race Center then place the sweets in the eggs. Others purchase and package the trinkets, from rings to tiny balls.
Also making the event more than just a finders-keepers gathering are the fire trucks, police cruisers and even a local rescue boat for people, especially the youngsters, to see.
“They all enjoy having everyone get a close-up look at everything,” Foster said.
Plus, the Easter Bunny always is on hand to meet the children and pose for pictures. For several years, Foster’s two daughters joyfully served in that role.
“I asked them once, ‘Did you ever stop and think how many family scrapbooks you’re now in?'” he said.
Kathy McPeek, the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department’s recreation and Columbus Gymnastics Center manager, mentioned that it’s important for parents and other adult family members to know that the gathering will start promptly at 10 a.m. That is the case even when a slight drizzle of rain has begun in the past.
“We always stress to people that really need to be parked and at least getting out of their car (to walk a block or two) by about 9:45 a.m. to be on time,” she said.
Even as more churches and other agencies have added their own egg hunts, this one continues to remain popular.
“I think one of the continued draws for this is the tradition,” McPeek said.
And it’s a sweet one at that.
What: 58th Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, with categories for various age groups of children through age 8.
When: 10 a.m. April 15.
Where: Donner Park, 739 22nd St. in 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.