Hectic race for prizes at chamber Easter egg hunt

Image: A boy teases his sister before the hunt

A boy teases his sister before the hunt (Arianna Rees)

The parking lot was full Saturday morning, cars backed down every road. Volunteers scattered candy and eggs across the grass methodically as families exited their vehicles and gathered in the center of Mack Park.

The babbling of the creek could barely be heard over the excited giggles and impatient moans of hundreds of children as they waited for Smithfield’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt to begin. Families from across the valley stood with anticipation at several checkpoints throughout the park, and when the ribbons were cut, the frenzied scramble for eggs and candy began.

Organized by the Smithfield Chamber of Commerce, the Easter egg hunt happens every year in Smithfield, switching between places such as Mack Park and Central Park. Children and families from all parts of the valley participate every year for free, and the turnout is high. This year the crowds stretched almost the full length of the park.

To many, seeing their children gather treats was well worth any crowding or waiting.

Rochelle Strate, a mother who has brought her children to the hunt in previous years, said that it’s been enjoyable every year. “It was fun. The kids enjoyed it and the weather was good.”

Volunteers from the community gathered early to prepare for the 9:00 hunt. Sections of the park were roped off for different age groups, and rather than unlimited eggs, children were limited to two eggs per person. Those eggs contained papers that they could exchange for prizes at the end of the hunt. Businesses such as Lee’s Marketplace, Alpine, and McDonald’s were there to give out toys, food, and gift baskets to the children.

Though the race for treats was hectic, the reward of getting something to take home was well worth it for many kids.

Kason, Strate’s son, said, “My favorite part is getting home and using the stuff.”

Some couldn’t agree more.