WILKES-BARRE – The Easter Bunny arrived on Public Square in a fire truck Saturday morning to oversee the sixth annual Easter egg hunt.
On the warmest morning of this season, about 500 parents and children gathered on Public Square to participate in the time-honored tradition of searching for Easter eggs.
Hosted by the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, the hunt is one of several family days held in downtown Wilkes-Barre, said Samantha Bovolick, an association member.
“Every year we keep getting bigger,” she said.
Hundreds of volunteers from the GAR, Coughlin and Meyers Key Clubs, Wilkes University’s football team, Kings College and the DWBBA helped to make the event run smoothly, Bovolick said.
Children were divided into three groups — age 3 and under, 4- and 5-year-olds, and 6- to 10-year-olds. Each age group had a designated grassy area on Public Square. Each group was given a turn to hunt while the others waited.
About 5,000 bright pastel colored plastic eggs were up for grabs, said John Chaump, manager of Barnes & Noble and president of the DWBBA.
Bovolick reminded parents to have their children open the eggs to see if they had any tickets to win a prize. Each prize was marked with a corresponding ticket number. Prizes ranged from giant Easter baskets to brand new bicycles.
“Prizes were donated by several area business,” Bovolick said.
Armed with a white plastic bag, Benxamin DeAvila, 4, eagerly awaited his turn to collect Easter eggs. After the countdown of “ready, set, go,” DeAvila joined several other children in the 4-to-5 age group and made a clean sweep of a grassy area. Not an egg was left insight.
DeAvila’s mother, Danielle, of Wilkes-Barre, said they have come to previous Easter egg hunts on Public Square and had a good time.
“We will be taking advantage of the other events downtown today,” she said.
After the hunt ended, families made their way into the downtown business district to check out other activities, such as egg dyeing and games in the Anthracite Newsstand, storytelling at Barnes & Noble, children’s activities at Dunkin Donuts and the F.M. Kirby Center, face painting and balloon animals in the Midtown Village, Easter craft and puppet show in the Osterhout Free Library, and Easter eggs and free slice of pizza for children 10 and under in Rodano’s.
The Easter Bunny hopped around downtown visiting with families and business while posing for photos.
The importance of participating in downtown family days is about more than just attracting business, according to Chaump. He said it is very important to support the community and highlight the positive aspects of the city to counteract the recent negative events.
“We believe in the positive,” Chaump said.