Easter bunny leaves behind a trail of happy kids

The Easter bunny hippity-hopped his way across Jackson County on Saturday, leaving a trail of eggs filled with sweet treats and other goodies for children.

In Seymour, Easter eggs could be found at several places, including First Baptist Church.

The church provided a drive-thru alternative to an Easter egg hunt because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vehicles lined up in the church parking lot, and each child in the car received a bag of special Easter items and the Easter bunny was on hand for selfies.

“Each bag has a craft to do at home, sticker, 12 eggs filled with candy and toys and special prizes to the first 50 who come through the drive-thru,” said Shannan Silver, president of Barbara Bolick mission circle.

The Edna Martin, BG and Madeline Flores mission circles helped with donating candy or filling Easter eggs, too.

Mike Lyon, the church’s pastor of family life, said they started planning the event when the county was still at a red level based on the positivity rate and things were unpredictable.

“We just knew we wanted to do something to connect with the community,” Lyon said. “We want them to know we care about them and love them, and this was a safe way to do that.”

Lyon’s wife, Monica, drove through the line with their two sons, Cooper, 6, and Camden, 5. The FBC event was the only one they planned to participate in Saturday.

Cooper said in his bag, he found an Easter coloring sheet, chalk and eggs. Camden said they had just got done watching the movie “Hop.”

Joan Shuler was at the drive-thru hunt with her 3-year-old grandson, Asher Jackson, and he got a selfie with the Easter bunny.

“This one is the first of several egg hunts we are going to today,” Shuler said.

Seymour Christian Church hosted an Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday afternoon, including Easter egg hunts for varying age groups and golden eggs with big prizes.

The outdoor festivities included a special outdoor worship service, outdoor carnival games, a dunk tank and a Chick-fil-A tent, where food could be purchased.

Hudd Skidmore, 7, was at the event with his mother, Jennifer Skidmore. He said he was hoping to find a golden egg.

“This is our home church, and we’re looking forward to having fun today and enjoying the message,” Jennifer said.

Olivia Compton, 10, was looking forward to playing games, hunting for eggs and visiting the Chick-fil-A tent for something good to eat. She was at the event with her mother, Jennifer Compton.

In Brownstown, the Easter bunny left a trail of eggs that began outside the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and in an adjacent field that serves as a parking lot for the fair and continued on the lawn of the Jackson County Courthouse with a hunt in the afternoon organized by Freedom Fireworks.

In the past, the sheriff’s department has held its annual hunt at Hickory Hills Golf Club in Brownstown, but the course wasn’t available for the Easter bunny’s visit this year because of another outing, Sheriff Rick Meyer said.

“We’ll probably start having it here from now on,” he said. “It’s easier for us with the prizes, and we have a lot of room here.”

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Posse helps organize the Easter egg hunt each year along with the help of a lot of other volunteers, Meyer said.

“The posse is real good about helping out,” he said.

That help includes filling between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs with candy, while the sheriff’s department provided the prizes, including two bicycles for each of four age groups and Easter baskets.

Brooklynn Gambrel, 8, of Seymour was one of the many children lined up and ready to go when the hunt started at 11 a.m.

She said her goal was go to fast and try to get the golden egg.

Her mother, Rebekah Gambrel, said the two planned to make a day of it by hitting several Easter eggs hunts.

“We saw this one on Facebook and thought it would be fun for the kids,” she said. “We’ve already been to Gaiser Park (for the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Easter egg hunt).”

They also were planning to go to a hunt at 1 p.m. at Seymour Christian Church and another at 4 p.m., Rebekah said.

Mark Green of Seymour said he decided to bring his grandchildren, Gabrian Wilkins, 8, and Scarlett Wilkins, 5, to the sheriff’s department Easter egg hunt because it is usually a nice one.

“It’s a little windy today, but it looks like a lot of people are showing up,” he said. “It’s spread out pretty well, so I don’t think there will be too many people knocking into each other.”

Gabrian said his secret to picking up a lot of eggs was looking for a group bunched together and not taking the time to look at each egg.

Green said his grandchildren had a practice run at home Saturday morning and learned not to pick up an egg and look at it.

“Grab and go,” he said.

Vera Reichenbacker of Cortland said she read about the hunt on Facebook and decided to bring her 7-year-old son, Jaxon Reichenbacker, because they didn’t get to do anything at Easter last year.

“He just loves it,” she said.

The two also had a couple of family Easter egg hunts planned for Saturday afternoon.

The Easter bunny also made his annual visit and left behind Easter eggs at Gaiser Park in Seymour.

On a brisk, sunny morning, dozens of families came to the park to get their pictures taken with the Easter bunny, win prizes and, most importantly, get in position to collect as many eggs that one could grab.

The hunt was separated into three age groups: 0 to 3, 4 to 9 and 10 to 12. At 10 a.m., kids stormed each area where eggs were placed. Less than a minute later, barely any eggs were on the ground.

Radio stations 92.7 Nash Icon WXKU and 99.3 The Buzz WZZB were partners for this year’s event and provided prizes, food and an emcee.

It’s something they have done for at least 20 years, said Kelly Trask, owner of both radio stations.

“Our stations love to serve our community, and this is a fun way that we can partner with other community members and provide a great source of family time and a celebration of one of the best holidays of the year,” she said.

One happy participant was Izzy Rader, 7, who came to Gaiser Park with her parents and her sister, Vivian. She said she was excited to get more candy and meet the Easter bunny. After the egg hunt, she went home with candy and free passes for the Shields Park Pool once it opens. The pool passes were earned by recycling leftover plastic eggs.

A grand prize, provided by Walmart, was given to every age group that found a special egg.

One recipient was Eli Leonard, 7, who didn’t realize he had won until the ride home.

“We actually didn’t realize it,” said his mother, Julie. “We were on our way home and he was going through his eggs and he was like ‘I got the grand prize.’”

She came back to the park with Eli, who received a Razor scooter, a new helmet, a stuffed bunny and extra candy.

The very happy boy said his favorite part of the day was winning the grand prize.