A full 40 seconds before the siren marked the start of the 55th Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, 7-year-old Jacques Griffin dropped nearly to one knee, just below the police tape holding back the children’s surge at Columbus’ Donner Park.
The NFL lineman stance would come in handy at Saturday’s gleeful holiday free-for-all, because youngsters who rush in like the Indianapolis Colts’ Robert Mathis — well, minus the spin moves — are the youngsters who go home like Peter Cottontail, with enough plastic eggs to last seemingly until next Easter.
Dad Scott Griffin offered simple strategy behind his son.
“You’re looking at about 12 eggs right there in front of you that belong in your basket,” the father said with a grin.
When announcer Sam Simmermaker finished his countdown, children in the segmented age categories swarmed the areas like locusts as parents shot cellphone pictures and video of the gathering that attracted more than 1,000 people, according to organizers with WCSI Radio and Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.
The event finished nearly as quickly as the Kentucky Derby, in just over two minutes, and with the entrants about as bunched together as a field of eager thoroughbreds.
Seven-year-old Lexi Greenlee looked puzzled when someone asked her how she collected so many eggs holding candy, stickers, bracelets, and other trinkety treasures.
“I just ran,” she said.
But the morning wasn’t eggs-actly all dedicated to hunter-gatherers. The Columbus Police Department and Columbus Fire Department brought cruisers and trucks for children to see. Aimee Nguyen and 5-year-old son Ashton loved seeing the vehicles.
And 8-year-old Fernanda Garcia loved meeting the Easter Bunny, who patiently posed all morning for pictures with children. Her heart goes out to the furry character for a simple reason.
“He brings me candy and eggs,” she said.