Two big bunnies, thousands of eggs make hundreds of sunny smiles

Just in time for Easter, see (in LOTS of photos) how two SE Portland neighborhood groups bring their communities together with traditional Easter Egg Hunts …

Kaitlin and Jack Nelson get a real “two carrot” treat from the Easter Bunny at Westmoreland’s Easter Egg Hunt.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There’s no better sign that springtime has arrived than seeing hundreds of kids in two neighborhoods running – baskets in hand – at the start of annual Easter Egg hunts on March 22.

Waiting as patiently as possible, families wait for the “tiny tots” section to be opened for the big Sellwood-Westmoreland hunt.

Sellwood-Westmoreland’s Easter Egg Hunt
It was promoted as “come rain-or-shine”, and the brilliant sunshine drew hundreds of families to this annual event.

The event was free, but many folks brought canned goods for the FISH Food Bank, some gave cash donations.

In minutes, hundreds of kids get about the business of gathering their eggs.

Phoebe Diamond has great success finding chocolate eggs.

“We love helping SMILE put on this event,” said Edwina Swart, President of Oaks Bottom Lions Club. “It’s just great; the kids are having lots of fun.”

At 10 a.m. sharp, the ribbons cordoning off areas in the southern part of Westmoreland Park were lifted and the kids took off on their hunt. Actually, the colorfully foil-wrapped milk-chocolate were plentiful – making the kids’ mission more “gathering” than “searching”.

Leasa Wiebke appears to enjoy the Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt as much as her daughter, Julia!

Because three football field-sized areas were swept clean of candies in minutes, the organizers made sure no one went home empty handed. They thoughtfully withheld a small bucket of treats for those too timid to grab their share.

10th Annual Woodstock Easter Egg Hunt

Some of the more than 200 kids at Woodstock Park await the start of their Easter Egg Hunt for some 1,700 candy-and-prize filled plastic eggs.

We had just enough time to head east to this event, now in its tenth year.

Set more as a “hunt”, families and kids gathered in the central portion of Woodstock Park. Tom Vice counted down the minutes, and at precisely 10:30 a.m., kids fanned out in three searching areas, each assigned to an age group.

“Ready, set go!” says Tom Vice. The kids didn’t need to be egged on.

Gale and Michael Budde tag along as Jill sets off to find her eggs.

At their event, the kids searched for plastic eggs containing candy, a toy, or a coupon good for a larger toy or sheet of stickers. See how many folks had come out on the sunny morning, organizers asked that each kid take only five eggs – most everyone complied and shared – so all were satisfied.

The “man with the megaphone”, Tom Vice, said the event was hosted by the Woodstock Business Association, and sponsored by Safeway, BiMart, The UPS Store, Papa Murphy’s, Hollywood Video, and Life House Church.

With a little help from mom and dad, Amy and Jeff Loney, Lucy quickly collected her Easter eggs.

“We prepared 1,700 Easter Eggs,” Vice recounted. “They were all gathered in about seven minutes. It’s incredible to see the great energy here. We easily have over 200 children participating.”

Jill Budde is exploring the contents of her newly-found Easter eggs as her parents, Gail and Michael look on.

Darren Almli and his little bunny-girl Shayla wait to redeem their tickets for prizes.

While their event features candy and prizes, Vice said, “The important thing is this event brings families, who live in the Woodstock area, together. We’re focusing on finding ways to help build community, and the best way is events like this that brings people together. Look around! So many people are here having a great time!”

Elise Nettle getting her treats directly from the Woodstock Easter Bunny.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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