Newton Falls – Fields soggy from the recent rains and sharp springtime winds didn’t dampen the day for hundreds of local children on the hunt for thousands of brightly-colored plastic spheres left behind by a big fluffy pink bunny on the grounds near the Community Center on Quarry Street. On the last Saturday before Easter weekend, the sun shone overhead, glistening off baskets tightly clutched by children eagerly awaiting the signal to clamber through the rope fence sectioning off the tennis courts and scoop up as many eggs as they could gather.
Sponsored by the local Girl Scouts, the Newton Falls Egg Hunt first came onto the bunny trail 61 years ago. This year, over 8,000 eggs were tossed out for children in various age groups and each egg contained some type of prize including candy, toys, stickers or temporary tattoos. Larger prizes, such as stuffed bunnies and other creatures, that could not possibly fit in a tiny egg were represented on a small piece of paper which the finder could redeem to claim the corresponding item. Funds for the prizes and the eggs themselves were donated by local businesses, supportive individuals, and the organizers. Some funds, it was noted, even came from out-of-state as far as Washington from the 12-,13-,and 14-year-olds who assisted in the very first Hunt all those years ago and are now 73-,74-, and 75-year-old grandmothers. The eggs were filled by volunteers from the local Red Hatters so one organization of strong ladies helped another! It was mentioned that one original Scout has even made a point to return with her own great-grandchildren to keep the tradition going.
At one point during the afternoon, Mayor Lyle Waddell and City Manager Jack Haney were invited to the microphone. During his brief remarks, the mayor encouraged everyone to give a round of applause to the Girl Scouts in appreciation of all the hard work they do in organizing this event.
Of course, even though the anecdotes and stories of tradition expressed between each round was fun for the audience to hear, the true joy for the kids was the actual hunt itself. Starting it off was the 2-year-old age group, assisted by a grown-up partner-in-crime to help hold their basket, bag, bucket or other chosen container. The 3-and-4-year-olds were sent out next and one little boy was so excited to have found an egg for each hand that he didn’t bother trying to fill a basket – full fists were enough! Next came the 5-6-7-year-old age group whose quick convergence on the playing field was so animated that the announcer likened it to a piranha feeding frenzy. Sure enough, within seconds any visible egg parts were grabbed out of sight. Concluding with the bit calmer, albeit just as eager, 8-9-10 age group, the colorful stars of the show were snatched up within just a few moments and the solid flooring was back to its monochrome color scheme.
Though only one lucky child in each of the four age ranges found a ticket for the Grand Prize (hint: the Grand Prize is never in the biggest eggs because that would be too obvious!), every child walked away a winner on a beautiful spring day in the neighborhood.