Area ready for annual Easter egg hunts

By Staff
READY, SET, HUNT Chandler Stewart, foreground, finds an Easter egg, while Alexis Morgan and Olivia Randall try to fill their basket with eggs as they practice for Easter. Children of all ages will participate in area Easter egg hunts set for this weekend at Highland Park and the Collinsville Beach at Okatibbee Lake. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
March 29, 2002
Saturday the hunt will be on for more than 10,000 Easter eggs hidden in every nook and cranny of Highland Park and at Okatibbee Lake.
Children up to age 12 may participate in the hunt at Okatibbee Lake Collinsville Beach. Games and other activities begin at 9 a.m., with the hunt starting at noon. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Children's Hospital at the University Medical Center, through the Children's Medical Network.
Children 3 to 12 may participate in the Highland Park hunt. Youngsters are asked to gather at the bandstand for instructions on where to go for their age group, with the hunt scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
The Highland Park Easter egg hunt has been canceled only when the annual Arts in the Park celebration falls on the same weekend as Easter. The last time that happened was a couple of years ago .
The task of hiding the 2,000 eggs at Highland Park will go to volunteer Navy personnel from Naval Air Station Meridian, who have donated their time for the last several years.
Lucky hunters who find the gold and silver egg, hidden in each age group, will receive a grand prize. Many other special plastic eggs will have a number inside them which also matches a prize.
Once the hunt is over, children should go to Shelter No. 3, where members of the youth group Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Archonettes will distribute prizes.
Over the last 13 years, Quince has organized the event and still looks forward to it each year.
With hundreds of children expected to attend both the Highland Park and Okatibbee Lake Easter egg hunts, organizers have established age groups for safety precautions.
The Highland Park hunt will be divided into groups for children aged 3 and 4, 5 to 7, 8 to 10 and 11 to 12. Parents can help their 3- and 4-year-olds.
The Okatibbee Lake hunt will be divided into groups for children aged 3 and under, 4 to 6 and 7 to 12.
Quince only has one request for eager hunters.
EASTER BUNNY HISTORY
The Easter bunny had its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. The hare and the rabbit were the most fertile animals known and served as symbols of the new life during the spring season.
The Easter bunny was introduced to American folklore by German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s.
The arrival of the "Oschter Haws" was considered "childhood's greatest pleasure," next to a visit from Christ-Kindel on Christmas Eve. The children believed that if they were good the "Oschter Haws" would lay a nest of colored eggs.

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