By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Landon Linehan isn’t terribly shy, but he needed some emotional backup to approach the Easter Bunny on Sunday.
With grandma Rita Linehan behind him for support, Landon, 3, of Harpersfield Township gathered his courage and reached out his hand to give the giant rabbit a carrot.
“It was his idea,” Rita Linehan said. “He wanted to give the bunny a jelly bean, but then decided that rabbits really don’t eat candy,” she said with a laugh.
Hundreds of children plucked plastic eggs filled with jelly beans from the snow at the Harpersfield Township Community Center on Sunday at the annual event, which is sponsored by the Harpersfield Township Ruritans.
The event was expanded this year to include a free community lunch, also sponsored by the Ruritan club. Egg hunt director Janie Sibell said she was inspired to add the lunch as a thank you to the community.
“We decided to expand the hunt to make it a community service project,” she said. “This is not a fundraiser, just a fun day for residents and their children. We don’t want to do only fundraisers. We want to give back to the township residents.”
Members of the Ruritans stuffed 1,500 plastic eggs with jelly beans and sponsored 27 prize baskets for the children to win.
Eddie Goof, 9, of Geneva said he got a lot of eggs, which equals a lot of jelly beans.
“The only plan I had was to get as many jelly beans as I could,” he said. “I picked up a lot of eggs.”
Trina Wolford, 10, of Ashtabula ran at a full sprint to get ahead of the other children at the egg hunt.
“I just wanted to run really fast so I could get a lot of eggs,” she said. “It worked.”
Dad Jason Metz of Madison said he and his children have been to many community egg hunts, but Harpersfield is their favorite.
“We have been to egg hunts in Mentor, Chardon, and at Lakeshore Park,” he said. “But this is definitely the best one by far. My kids love it here and the fact that they added the lunch for the kids is fantastic.”
Metz said he and his family are careful to support all the Ruritans’ events throughout the year, including the annual fish fry’s, clam bakes, chicken dinners and the beef roast.
Caden Grim, 6, said he was very excited to see a big bunch of jelly beans in his basket, but the snow was no fun out on the egg patch and inside the community center.
“I really love jelly beans, so I tried to eat one, but it was frozen,” he said.
The Ruritans will host a chicken dinner fundraiser on May 19 at the Harpersfield Community Center. Tickets are $9 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased in advance by calling Sibell at 721-7060 or Harpersfield Township Trustee Jim Pristov at 466-4864.