By Elsie Walker
Traditions are nice, but every now and then, they have to be changed. That is true for the 31st Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Fun Day held in Landing sponsored by the Port Morris United Methodist Church. This year, the Easter Bunny will be arriving a day later than usual. The event will be held on Sunday, April 14th starting at 2 p.m. A tradition now welcoming a second generation of egg hunters, the event is free of charge and open to all children up to age 10. Besides hunting eggs, the children will enjoy refreshments, games, balloons, and other activities. The church is located at 296 Center Street in Landing. Parking is off Main Street, behind the church.
While children and parents start the event in the church’s fellowship hall, the hunting action usually takes place at the local park, weather-permitting. Hundreds of eggs are hidden. Children are divided into age groups before looking for eggs in different areas. Watching over them and cheering them on, as he has for the past 30 years, is the Easter Bunny. The hunt has become a tradition in some families with adults who hunted as children, now bringing their children to the event.
One such parent is Jessica Notari, who now lives in Pennsylvania. “I grew up in that church. The bunny is the best and most amazing person I have ever known and it as an event put together for the community that is truly full of heart. It’s beautiful,” she said in explaining why she makes the trip with her children.
That heart is reflected by the volunteers, ranging in age from teens to seniors, who help to make the day a fun one for the children, and this year is no exception. After getting eggs, children will come back to the church hall and backyard and be able to participate in a variety of activities, plus enjoy some refreshments. There are games, temporary tattoos, a chance to have a picture taken with the bunny and more. Some traditions of the event include guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar (and getting a prize) and participating in the Easter egg roll. In an egg roll, two participants square off pushing a colored egg with their nose towards a finish line.
“For some reason, kids like to do it with me,” said the bunny in a recent interview. “I guess they know they can beat me at it!”
There are also balloons and goodie bags for the children, plus a few new surprises this year. Whether it is a child’s first Easter or one of many, the goal is to make the day special for each child that comes to the event. That spirit was summed up by the church’s pastor, Nick Petrov.
“Is there anything better than gearing up for an epic Easter egg hunt? At Port Morris United Methodist Church, we have a blast hiding eggs for the little ones of our community to find. It never gets old – probably – because our amazing Bunny never gets old… and never gets tired. So, prepare your kiddos on Sunday, April 14 and head over to Port Morris United Methodist Church in Landing for an event full of magic, joy and laughter. Free admission! For us, it is a privilege to have you. We hope you enjoy the egg hunt and wish all of you a very blessed Easter,” he said.
For more information, call the church at 973-347-0381.