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The arrival of the Easter Bunny at the the Fourth Annual Ultimate Easter Egg Experience was a special moment for the children at Charles Strickland Recreational Park in Chiefland on Sunday.
While the children enjoyed meeting Peter Cottontail, his arrival signalled the event everyone was really waiting for: the massive Easter egg hunt.
It was a mad dash for 30,000 candy-filled eggs once the children were finally unleashed, a highlight of an early-evening event that helped kick of Easter festivities for Chiefland.
The annual Egg Experience is presented by Forward Church and spearheaded by executive pastor Bradley Webber and his team of volunteers.
On hand were tents for face painting and temporary tattoos and concessions as well as a bounce house and basketball.
There were also exhibits from area law enforcement agencies and first responders, including the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Chiefland Fire Rescue, Levy County Department of Public Safety and others. The Sheriff’s department allowed children to try on bullet-proof vests and handle various equipment while taking photos with Sgt. Max Long. Children also tried out fireman’s gear.
Central Florida Electric Cooperative brought out a bucket truck, and the Levy County Health Department was on hand issuing free blood pressure tests. There were also prize drawings.
The egg hunt – which was more of a speed challenge than exploration – was divided into age groups across multiple fields.
“It’s just something we wanted to do to give back to the community, to make this available in a great safe environment,” Webber said. “The first year we did it when my wife and I moved back to Chiefland we had 10,000 eggs and I was like, ‘God, please let 500 people show up, because I don’t want to have to go back and pick them up.’ And that first year, we had over 2,000 people. So we just planned for that every year, and this year we did 30,000 eggs.”
Webber said it was the first year the event brought in sponsors, which included Bar-B-Q Bill’s, the Gathering Table, Hometown Fitness and the family of Wri, Kimberly and Liam Irby.
The event was also supported by volunteers from Forward Church.