OCEANSIDE — Oceanside youngsters scrambled to collect eggs at four Easter egg hunts throughout the city April 6.
Multiple egg hunts have been held for several to allow families to celebrate the holiday within their immediate neighborhoods.
“It’s a positive afternoon that builds community pride and spirit,” Eileen Turk, Parks and Recreation division manager, said.
City-sponsored egg hunts were held at Joe Balderrama Park and Buddy Todd Park. The egg hunt at Joe Balderrama Park drew 400 kids and attendance at Buddy Todd Park topped 1,000 boys and girls.
At Buddy Todd Park, age group egg hunt areas were sectioned off and lined with rows of eager boys and girls. The fire engine siren blasted to signal the start of the hunt and within five minutes all eggs were found.
For every 100 scattered eggs, one gold egg was included that contained a ticket for an Easter basket. Community businesses sponsored the prizes.
“It’s a partnership between the city and community,” Turk said. “We don’t want to charge for an Easter egg hunt.”
Extra eggs were available at the event check-in table for any kids who finished the egg hunt empty handed.
Following the hunt the Easter Bunny stayed to take pictures with children and hotdogs were sold.
A similar scurry to find eggs happened at the other egg hunt sites.
Family Fellowship Church joined efforts with fellow community service organizations to sponsor egg hunts at Libby Lake Park and Fireside Park.
“These areas sometimes get overlooked,” Pastor Sheldon Brown said.
Family Fellowship Church ministers to children in the Libby Lake and Fireside neighborhoods every Saturday. Church volunteers lead games, provide snacks and share Bible stories weekly.
“Most volunteers are teenagers,” Brown said. “They are positive role models for these younger kids.”
Annual egg hunts in the neighborhoods are announced by park banners and word-of-mouth.
More than 250 kids participated in the Fireside Easter egg hunt and more than 300 turned out for the Libby Lake egg hunt.
To ensure all children had a fun and safe time, prize bags were given to kids age 5 and under. The bags contained five eggs and a free pizza certificate. This helped ensure over-enthusiastic parents did not push to help their children get eggs.
“The hardest problem is keeping parents out of the way,” Brown said.
Children ages 6 and up hunted for eggs.
Instead of battling it out for golden eggs, every boy and girl got a ticket for the Easter basket raffle. Fifty prize baskets were raffled off just before the egg hunt.
“We found the golden egg (win or loss) to be too harsh for some kids,” Brown said.