OCEANSIDE — Oceanside is continuing its annual tradition of holding free Easter egg hunts throughout the city March 31.
The largest egg hunt is the city-sponsored hunt at Mance Buchanon Park. It is expected to draw 1,000 boys and girls ages 3 to 12. The hunt includes plastic eggs filled with small prizes, and a golden egg in each egg hunt area.
Finders of a golden egg can redeem it for a deluxe Easter basket loaded with fun prizes.
Before the hunt there will be music and friendly city staff to direct families to age group egg hunt areas.
A siren signals the start of the hunt, and boys and girls quickly enter the egg hunt areas and fill their baskets.
Following the egg hunt there will be a magic show, visits with the Easter Bunny and hot dogs and sodas for sale.
The day brings families together for a morning in the park.
“It’s so nice to see the whole family come out,” Eileen Turk, Parks and Recreation division manager, said. “It makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy.”
The city-sponsored Easter egg hunt has been held in different locations over the years, and is Oceanside’s longest running egg hunt.
There are also neighborhood-based egg hunts planned in parks throughout the city.
The Eastside Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt is the second longest running egg hunt. It has hunt areas for kids ages 1 to 12. Nancy Cuellar, staff member at Balderrama Recreation Center, said about 300 boys and girls are expected.
The egg hunt is sponsored by the city and the Eastside Neighborhood Association. It will also have visits with the Easter Bunny.
A unique twist is the Easter Bunny raffles off Easter baskets after the hunt.
The newest egg hunt is held at John Landes Park. It is traditionally sponsored by Save Our Streets faith-based group, Cause of Christ church and city neighborhood services.
In past years it has included an egg hunt, face painting, a bounce house and popcorn.
The tradition of city Easter egg hunts dates back more than four decades.
In the 1970s, eggs were hard boiled and color dyed by local community groups.
Later plastic eggs were filled by hand with prizes by volunteers.
Turk said the city now orders ready-filled eggs for its hunts.
“Gone are the days of stuffing 4,000 eggs, we have an express order line to the Easter Bunny,” Turk said.
Volunteers still pitch in to place eggs on the field before children arrive.
Advice for families who plan to attend a city egg hunt are to carpool, arrive early, and bring a basket or bag for your child to collect eggs. Egg hunts begin on schedule, and most eggs are scooped up within 10 minutes.
Check the city webpage for updates on egg hunts times and locations.
Currently listed Oceanside egg hunts:
Egg Hunt, 10:00 a.m. Mance Buchanon Park, 425 College Blvd.
Egg Hunt, 10:00 a.m. Joe Balderrama Park, 709 San Diego Street.
Egg Hunt, 10:00 a.m. John Landis Park, 4215 Lewis Street.