Easter Egg Hunt

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, March 28, 2013

FARMVILLE – New Life Assembly of God and the Town of Farmville have hatched a plan for Saturday, March 30.

For the second consecutive year, the two will roll out an Easter egg hunt-and this time, rather than 25,000 eggs, 30,000-plus will be dropped from a helicopter onto Prince Edward County High School's football field.

The day kicks off with inflatable games from noon to 2:30 p.m. and the main attraction-the helicopter drop-coming at 3 p.m.

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According to New Life Assembly of God Children's Pastor Josh Simpson, it's actually a bit more than 30,000.

They've counted.

Every egg has to be put together and students from New Life Christian Academy have been pitching in and also helping in to fill some 1,500 weighed bags of candy in preparation of the big event. Donations from individuals and businesses too will help add to the eggcitement.

Still, it will be hard to top last year, packing out all of the parking spots.

“I'm talking about elementary, the vo-tech, the middle school-I mean it was just quite a sight,” chimes in Farmville Recreation Director Chris Bolt.

“I remember standing at the top of the hill there at the football field and watching a line of traffic that never ended and just being blown away,” Simpson also recounts.

The annual Easter egg hunt has indeed steadily grown from the days of a church event.

“I guess we were just blown away last year,” offered Simpson. “I mean, think about it…the prior year when New Life had done it by ourselves, we had 400 people total show up and we thought that was amazing. And then last year over 3,000 people showed up-over 1,100 of those were kids.”

Among the changes in the works for this year's event…They're considering a limit for the number of eggs each individual can get. They want everyone to be able to get some eggs. Each child will receive the same amount of candy when they turn in their eggs. Groups will be separated with children three and under, with a parent, will search at the softball field. Children four to 12 will hunt on the football field by themselves. (Children will be grouped somewhat by age-fours and fives will be in an area different from twelve-year-olds.) Also different from last year, there will be multiple locations around the football field where children can turn in their eggs.

There still will be five to seven major prizes awarded for those who find the special eggs -which will include such things as a bicycle and a gift card and will be presented the day of the event.

And there will be more volunteers on hand, too- to some 65-70 – or about double the amount from the previous year.

<!– 1upcrlf2 –>While the egg drop-courtesy of pilot Paul Jackson-won't happen until 3 p.m. (and it's advised to get there early to participate), from noon to 2:30 p.m., children can enjoy inflatable games. There will be a bounce house for smaller children and a larger one and an obstacle course for older children.

“So it'll be more of an event,” notes Bolt. “So you just don't show up…collect eggs and go home.”

Any such event involves a lot of advance preparation and planning-they had already filled over 500 bags of candy, for example, and plan to have over 1,500 in total.

Two sponsors have also chipped in, helping to spread the cost, and more may come on board by the time of the event.

“And our church has really-last year we did good,” Simpson said. “This year, they've done fantastic. They've brought candy and they've donated enough money that it's not coming out of…any other account. It's been donations for candy that has covered the complete cost.”

A lot, considering that it will be close to $2,000 in candy.

It's the second year of collaboration between the Town and the church on the event. Bolt notes they do whatever they can to help out and worked to help get fliers out to all of the children in the school.

“Oh, it was fantastic teaming with them,” Simpson says. “Yeah, because… it's not about – it really isn't about New Life, you know.”

“It's not about the department. It's just about the community,” adds Bolt.

Simpson further explains, “We just want to give back to the community and a great way to do it is with the town.”

Consider that in addition to the value of the candy, they also had to purchase close to $1,000 more in eggs, printing material, and radio spot (Radio Station WVHL will have a live remote).

Simpson notes they've probably put in about $4,000 for the event.

“Again, see, it's the community impact. It's us just giving, versus expecting, you know,” he says. “We're not asking for anything in return. And, again, with the Town's help and with the people in the church getting behind it, it really makes it easy.”

(The event, for children 12 years of age and younger, is open to the community free of charge. Town will have some bags on hand for those who don't bring something to collect their eggs in.)