The hunt for fun on Easter

GARVIN – Despite temperatures hovering around the freezing point, an extremely large number of people turned out for the first-ever Garvin Park Easter EGGstravaganza on Sunday.

Emma Volz and her daughter Abigail, 15 months, were among those gathered near the Garvin Park warming house.

“We saw it on the website, and this is the first Easter that she can actually experience stuff, so I figured why not come out here?” Volz said. “My husband said it was too cold, but I figured if we bundled her up, she’d be fine. She loves being outside. With the way the weather is, I was expecting maybe 50 people, tops. But I’d say there are over 200 people here.”

Clad in her winter gear, little Abigail Volz clearly seemed to be enjoying the experience, despite the cold, just as her mother anticipated.

“The first time we went hiking out here, the whole time around the trail, she had a big ol’ grin on her face,” Emma Volz said. “She just loved it. She would rather be outside anytime she can.”

Sponsored by the Lyon County commissioners and Lyon County Parks and Recreation Board, children of all ages were invited to spend a couple of hours doing Easter crafts in addition to taking part in age-appropriate Easter egg hunts. Brooke Wyffels, who began her position as Lyon County Parks program supervisor in January, came up with the idea for the celebration.

“I wanted to have more events here at the park, and I thought a good kickoff would be an Easter event,” Wyffels said. “I thought it would be a good thing for all the kids to get out and do something before Easter gets here. I was a little worried, with the weather, if we’d get a good turnout, but it looks like it’s not scaring anyone away.”

In fact, there were so many people present that Wyffels had to set an egg limit for each participant in the three age categories.

“That way, everyone has a shot at getting some eggs,” Wyffels said. “Some of the eggs have really good prizes in them, too, like Nickelodeon Universe tickets, Sea Life, Moose Mountain, bowling, Dairy Queen, McDonalds, along with the candy, of course.”

Children in the 1-4 age group collected all the eggs in record time. Two-and-a-half-year-old Brayden Marron only got two eggs, but he was still all smiles as he carried around his puppy pail.

“We wanted to bring him to the Easter egg hunt,” mom Crystal Marron said. “It’s his first outdoor Easter hunt. He’s having a good time. We dressed warm for it. We were prepared for it.”

Kids in the 5-8 age category weren’t quite as fortunate. With the large number of children, some did not get a single egg along the trail. Quick-thinking Wyffels decided to allow those kids to take part in the final hunt of the day, though.

Taylor Miller of Marshall decided to celebrate her birthday at Garvin Park on Sunday and patiently waited for the age 9-and-above group to begin the Easter egg hunt.

“I told my mom I’m coming no matter what the weather was like,” Miller said. “It’s my birthday. I’m 10. So far, I’ve painted eggs, and we’re going to have the Easter egg hunt. I’m excited.”

Miller brought five of her friends – Sydney Kramer, Brooke Andries, Ava Holmgren and sisters Nnenna and Chioma Onyeaghala – with her to the festivities. All of them wore adorable white bunny ears.

“I’ve been making cookies, making the egg craft thing and making a paper bunny out of a cup,” Nnenna Onyeaghala said. “I’m having fun, and I want to come back again.”

Like her friends, Kramer took time to do crafts, dye eggs, color and decorate cookies in the warming house.

“I’ve gotten to do everything,” she said. “It’s really fun. I have never been to Garvin Park before.”

There was also one golden egg hidden for each age group.

“Whoever finds the golden egg gets the prize,” Wyffels said. “The younger group gets the large stuffed animal and a coloring book. The middle group gets a coloring book and two movies. And 9-and-older, gets a gift card from Wal-Mart.”