On the hunt: Easter events provide opportunity, fun

The Easter bunny made his annual visit to numerous spots across Jackson County on Saturday leaving behind a trail of Easter eggs for the young and the not so young to find.

Those stops included larger Easter egg hunts held by the city of Seymour, local churches, police and even a local egg producer and smaller events such as the one meant for individuals with special needs.

That particular hunt was held on the playground at Emerson Elementary School on Seymour’s east side.

The idea for an Easter egg hunt for children with physical, developmental, emotional and behavioral challenges isn’t new.

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“A few years ago, my daughter said we should do an Easter egg hunt for kids with special needs,” said Tom Judd, pastor at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

“So we did it in the sanctuary,” he said.

Last year, the church moved its event to Emerson’s playground, dividing it into three sections for different age groups. There was a separate area for those in wheelchairs and to distribute prizes.

“I’ve always loved Easter, and we tried to think of ways to accommodate children that might not be able to do it normally,” Judd’s daughter, Emily Armuth, said.

Armuth, a speech and hearing clinician at the school, spoke with other employees at Seymour Community Schools for ideas on how to provide the same Easter egg hunt experience for kids who might need a little more help than others.

The eggs hid in each section were not filled with candy as some of the children have allergies or are diabetic and can’t have candy, Armuth said.

Every child was allowed to turn in one golden egg for a bag of goodies including toys, balls, noisemakers and stuffed animals, many of which were donated by Jay C Food Store, Armuth said.

“She’s just happy she gets to find an egg,” said Kristye Lewis of her daughter, Kirstyn Lewis. Kirstyn’s father, Rob Lewis, also was on hand for the event.

“It’s great. It gives them an opportunity to go at a slower pace to get the eggs without as much chaos,” said Kaye Rogers, who attended with her son, Evan Rogers.

Judd said that is one of the main focuses of the event.

“A lot of kids, if they have Down Syndrome, or some forms of autism, the large groups of people and all the noise is hard for them to handle,” he said.

After Judd announced the start of the egg hunt, the children began their search at a much more leisurely pace than the normal chaos associated with most Easter egg hunts.

The area for the wheelchair bound children allowed them to rifle through a bin of artificial grass for eggs.

Another popular Easter attraction Saturday was sponsored by a local business.

The fourth annual family fun day picnic at Rose Acre Farms’ offices near Cortland featured an Easter egg hunt, an egg decorating contest and a silent auction to raise money for a local charity.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community,” said Ryan Hackman, corporate project administrator for Rose Acre.

“These people are our employees, our customers, our family and friends,” he said.

The event also featured inflatable attractions for children and adults such as bounce houses and jousting areas.

The Seymour High School FFA chapter brought animals for a petting zoo for children and operated a barbecue food stand to raise money.

“The petting zoo was probably her favorite part,” said Jeremiah Krumme, talking about his 3-year-old daughter, Kailynn Krumme.

Entertainers from Easterling Entertainment of Columbus performed magic tricks and made animals and other things out of balloons.

Other local community groups set up booths, passing out prizes and information about the services they offer.

“We want them to leave with an understanding of the different groups and how they play an important part in the community,” said Hackman.