The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 31, 2013

Children enjoy Easter fun a day early across Ashtabula County

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— The anticipation lasts weeks — an egg hunt lasts minutes, but the memories will last a lifetime for parents urging their children to find as many Easter eggs as possible.

Hundreds of children from Ashtabula to Andover and Geneva to Jefferson gathered hundreds of eggs filled with treats Saturday during Easter egg hunts and other holiday fun.

Each event took on a different personality as Mary Snyder and Stephen Davis, both members of the Geneva Kiwanis Club, arrived at Geneva’s Kiwanis Park to start placing 550 eggs in place for children eager for Easter treats.

“The kids are going to get two eggs. They will (then) get their goodie bag,” Davis said. He said the goodie bag holds a variety of candy including licorice, suckers, Sweet Tarts, candy bars and other  creations.

The club has sponsored the event for the last 38 years.

Hundreds of people descended on Lake Shore Park between 12:30 and 1 p.m. for the largest Easter egg hunt in the area. The Ashtabula Township Park Commission sponsors the annual event to give back to the community, said ATPC Chairman Mike Wayman.

“It’s just one of the events we do to thank the public for their support,” he said.

Parking places disappeared rapidly during the 30 minutes prior to the event as parents made sure their children were in the right area for their age group’s Easter egg hunt.

Eight thousand eggs were placed in plain view for children to pick up in their age group specific hunting areas.

Within 15 minutes most of the cars were gone and the children were critiquing their haul of candy.

Strategy was a component of the hunt, but the best laid plans often go astray.

“What I told her was (to) go all the way to the end and work your way back,” said Jeremy Simak of Conneaut immediately following the Lake Shore Park hunt. Natalie Simak, 7, also of Conneaut said she didn’t follow the instructions, but seemed to have a pretty good collection of eggs.

Brian Hubbard, also a park commission board member, handled the bull horn giving instructions to parents and children prior to the hunt.

“You can help them out (the one- and two-year-old egg contestants), but no pushing or shoving,” Hubbard said.

Several luck egg holders found special eggs that made them eligible for bicycles or other unique prizes, organizers said.

Only a few eager children had to be physically retrained by their parents as impatience got the best of them seconds before each hunt started.

Wayman thanked Peggy Davis, administrative assistance for the park, and Bill Scoville, maintenance supervisor, for their work in making the egg hunt a reality.

Many area residents left Lake Shore Park and made a beeline to Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius Memorial Park for games and more candy handed out at businesses along Main Avenue.

“It’s nice. It’s perfect weather,” said Elvin Santiago of Ashtabula as his daughter Alessandra waited for the next game.

“After we are done with the games they will get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny,” Santiago said.

The event was sponsored by the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association, said ADDA Administrative Director Tina McNulty. Twelve businesses provided candy for children and others donated Easter baskets or other prizes for the children, she said.

Wesley Jeffrey said family let him know of the event. “Grandma called and said the Easter Bunny’s in town,” he said with a laugh.

Barbara Coffman of Ashtabula said her family attended the event to let the children have a little fun.