Betty and Ron Manolio had spent the last 54 years making mosaic eggshell art in their front yard for folks to enjoy for Easter. Last year, they told me they would continue the tradition as long as they were physically able to do it. Unfortunately, the Manolios didn’t realize that it would be the last year they would work together creating their Easter masterpiece. Last fall, Ron passed away, leaving folks to wonder what would become of Eggshelland. The family decided to do one more year and dedicate it to Ron, titling it “A Labor of Love.” Therefore, after 55 years of dedication to the display, 2013 will be the last year for Eggshelland.
This year, Eggshelland is smaller than usual, but it is a tribute to her husband who was the heart and soul of the display. The past few years the display contained around 40,000 eggshells; this year it has 21,630 eggshells painted in 24 brilliant colors. In previous years, Ron did all the egg painting while Betty designed the display. This year they are using the eggs they already had, making it a smaller, yet fitting tribute to her husband. The display has a mosaic art piece of Ron that contains 2,619 eggshells, an owl, a duck and their famous cross and rabbit, along with a few egg trees and a message to all those who have visited their display. Spelled out in eggshells, they leave this last message to their visitors, “Thank you All and Good Bye,” bringing an end to an era.
Creating Eggshelland consumed a lot of time that the Manolio children and the grandchildren just don’t have to spend on the project, so this year Eggshelland will come to an end. The display has really been a year- round project. Once a design was chosen they had to determine how many eggs of each color would be needed and then these had to be painted. Prior to painting the eggs, they had to empty the eggs, clean the shells and dry them before they could be painted. Ron would spend months painting the eggs for Eggshelland. Now that he is gone, there is no one, who has the time to paint the eggs. After the design was chosen and the eggs were painted, they began setting up the display three weeks before Easter by making a string replica of the design. They then started placing the pegs in the yard for the eggs to hang on and finally added the eggs. It is sad that it will come to an end but the Eggshelland will be preserved forever in the hearts of those who made it a family tradition. Portions of Eggshelland will be preserved in a Columbus museum of oddities.
The Manolios would like to thank their children and grandchildren for helping with the display each year, the Sidewalk Cafes in Painesville and Euclid for all the years they donated the eggshells; without the cafés’ help they would have never been able to do Eggshelland. They also would like to thank all those who have visited their display throughout the years, making it a family tradition.
Eggshelland will be opened from Palm Sunday through April 4, 2013 and one can find Eggshelland at 1031 Linden Lane Lyndhurst, Oh. 44124. The display is lighted so it can be seen after dark. You can also Google Eggshelland for specific directions and pictures of previous displays. Photos are permitted. They also have some painted eggshells for sale for those who would like to take home a piece of history.