Columbus area kids can expect to find some surprises on Saturday in downtown Columbus – actually, several thousand surprises.
Numerous volunteers were hard at work on Tuesday afternoon at Dusters Restaurant packing roughly 4,300 plastic eggs with various pieces of candy, including Kit Kat, Laffy Taffy, Skittles, Whoppers, Snickers, Milky Way, Haribo Gold Bears, Tootsie Rolls and more. It’s all in preparation of the Downtown Business Association’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, set for this Saturday.
“This has been going on a long time,” said DBA Coordinator Barb Siedlik, who is at the heart of the planning of the annual extravaganza.
How it works is that Frankfort Square is broken up into quadrants for the little ones based on their age. Kids up to age 2 and those with special needs will have a hunt of their own on the south side beginning at 12:30 p.m. Then at 1 p.m., there will be a hunt by the stage for 3-year-old children, while 4-year-olds will be near 14th Street and 5-year-olds will hunt against 26th Street. All of the hunt areas will be labeled and blocked off. The idea is to give all the kids the chance to participate at their own pace. A horn will go off to commence each race.
Downtown and other local merchants donated all of the candy to put in the eggs. Kiddos will also have a chance to score one of the 60-plus stuffed bunnies. Some lucky kids will find an instant winner coupon inside an egg that gets them a bunny at the event or the ability to go pick one up at the store that donated it. Siedlik said she loves seeing kids win the big bunnies, recalling how one of her nieces won one as a kid back in the 1960s.
“I don’t like little bunnies. They have to be larger than 30 inches,” she said, with a laugh. “I can remember taking my nieces and nephews and one of them won a bunny from the radio station and the bunny was just as big as she was. She was like a year-and-a-half.”
Kelli Keyes, a manager of the Columbus Public Library, was one of several people pitching in on Tuesday by loading eggs with goodies. She’ll be helping out on Saturday, noting all of the work was worth it.
“I like being here with my friends and stuffing eggs,” she said. “I love their (kids') faces when they see the Easter Bunny. It’s so great …”
Kids in attendance will also have a shot to get their picture with the Easter Bunny starting about noon until 1 p.m.
Ultimately, the Easter Egg Hunt is just about spreading joy, Siedlik said. That’s why all of the volunteers and local merchants work so hard to carry on the tradition that dates back generations.
“This is not a moneymaker for the downtown. This is a good thing for the community and we all have fun,” Siedlik stressed. “Anybody who wants to have some entertainment and wants to feel warm and fuzzy inside, come down and watch the Easter egg hunt. Watch those kids’ faces. It’s just precious – really precious ... It's nice to keep tradition."
Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.