Families go to Easter egg hunts around Jackson County

The busiest day of the year for the Easter bunny started early Saturday morning with doughnuts and an Easter egg hunt at a Freetown church and ended with another egg hunt in late afternoon at a Brownstown church.

In between the event at 9:30 a.m. at Freetown Church of Christ and the one at 4 p.m. at Brownstown First Baptist Church, the Easter bunny left behind candy and other goodies at plenty of other locations, including the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown, Gaiser Park, the Jackson Masonic Lodge and First Baptist Church in Seymour and the Medora Masonic Lodge.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Department

Before the annual Easter egg hunt started at 10 a.m. in the field just east of the sheriff’s department in Brownstown, 9-year-old Aiden Haley of Cortland said he was going to fill his bucket with eggs. His plan of attack?

“I am going to grab three at a time,” he said.

Rollan Wallace, 6, of Brownstown set a more ambitious goal than Haley when it came to the number of eggs he hoped to take home.

“100,” he said.

Neither boy may have reached his goal, but it wasn’t for the want of effort or of eggs.

Volunteers showed up early in the morning to help the Easter bunny by spreading 6,000 eggs across the field. Female jail trustees at the jail had filled the eggs with candy, said Linda Jo Brown, who is jail matron and leads the efforts to organize the hunt.

Brown said organizing the event is a process that takes a couple of months, but everyone pitches in and helps out. That includes officers and reserves, jail and administrative staff along with members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Posse.

Nancy Barr, a member of the sheriff’s posse, said she and fellow member Ken Burton of Scottsburg arrived at 8:30 a.m. to help set up the tables with toys and the bicycles for the lucky kids who found the golden eggs.

“It’s such an exciting event,” the Scottsburg woman said. “We just love it. We love seeing all the kids and all the enthusiasm. It’s amazing.”

Lisa Burton, a longtime member of the sheriff’s posse, said she had been helping out the sheriff’s department Easter egg hunts for many years, but the posse does so much more.

“We help out at the fair, Oktoberfest and then there’s the rodeo (Jackson County Rodeo) each year,” she said.

The eggs, candy, toys and bicycles are purchased in part by donations, which are accepted throughout the year and can be made by contacting the department at 812-358-2141, Brown said.

Gaiser Park

Easter eggs were scattered across Gaiser Park in Seymour on Saturday morning, and then at 10 a.m., they were gone in the blink of an eye.

Families filled the park at 300 S. Chestnut St. to participate in the annual Easter egg hunt presented by 92.7 Nash Icon/1390 AM and 99.3 FM The Buzz, Rose Acre Farms, Seymour Noon Lions Club and Seymour Parks and Recreation Department.

The Easter bunny was in attendance to pose for photos with families, courtesy of Walgreens.

Chad Keithley, the city’s parks operations director, said approximately 8,000 eggs were laid out for the hunt, and all were collected in record time. This year’s hunt lasted 1 minute and 54 seconds. Last year’s went on for 1 minute and 57 seconds.

While that’s a short window to gather eggs, some were able to make the best use of their time.

Karli Updike, 8, said she was able to pick up 30 eggs on Saturday. Her favorite candy out of the booty she had picked was Reese’s Pieces and pink Starbursts.

While there were grand prizes, such as bikes, given out at the event, Updike said she wasn’t worried about getting one and just wanted to have fun hunting for eggs.

Kayla Stice took her daughter, Berkleigh, 1, and son, Lochlan, 3, to the Easter egg hunt. She said Lochlan was more interested in opening the eggs than getting the candy out of them.

Brothers Karter, 5, and Kowen Mullins, 3, participated in the Easter egg hunt and had their picture taken with the Easter bunny.

Karter said his birthday was on Easter this year, and he wanted coloring books because he likes to draw. Lately, he has been drawing people, hearts and rainbows.

Kowen came to Gaiser Park dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog, his favorite video game character. He said his favorite candy was chocolate, and he was excited to use a free pass to Shields Park Pool he had received.

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church in Seymour was among the many churches and organizations that held Easter egg hunts on Saturday, and others had hunts planned for Sunday.

“We’re going to start things off today with a bad joke battle,” Montica Chambers, a member of First Baptist Church, told kids and their families gathered in the sanctuary before the egg hunts began.

Abram Yee stood on one side of the podium and Dawson Chambers on the other, each telling several bad jokes to see who would get the biggest laughs.

“Why did the Easter egg hide?” Yee asked the audience. “He was a little chicken.”

Followed by Chambers asking the crowd, what would they call a rabbit with fleas? Bugs Bunny.

After several rounds of jokes and lots of laughs, Jeremy Myers, lead pastor of the church, stepped up to the podium to speak.

Myers held up a book with no pictures or words, but each page was a different color: Gold, black, red, white and green.

“This book full of colors tells the most amazing story ever told,” Myers said.

He went on to explain the gold page represents the streets of gold where God lives in heaven and we are all God’s most special creation.

“In any good story, a problem comes up, so this dark black page represents our sin,” Myers said. “The Bible tells us we have all sinned and the punishment is separation from God.”

He said the red page stands for blood because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and the clean white page represents our sin being gone. When we ask Jesus to forgive us, his blood washes all our sin away and that’s why Easter is so important.

“The green page is for growth, for in the Bible it tells us we need to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ so we can grow to be more like him,” Myers said.

After prayer time, a few special gifts were given out to kids with winning tickets. Then the children were dismissed by age groups and led to areas outside where around 3,500 eggs were hidden in the grass.

Three-year-old Lilah Marr held a pink basket that looked like a bunny head as she picked up several plastic eggs off the ground. This was her first egg hunt at the church, and she was there with Laura Morris and Morris’ friend, Kelly Woods.

“My family and I moved to Seymour in August and I met Kelly, and she has helped me every step of the way,” Morris said. “She told me about Noah’s Ark Preschool, so Lilah goes to preschool here now.”

Lorali Simmons, 9, of Seymour said her egg hunting strategy was to run fast and get to the eggs, while 9-year-old Leona Chambers of Seymour said her plan was to see where the other kids were running to, then go the opposite direction.

Ben and Katie Yee of Seymour were at the Easter egg with their sons. Two of those sons were Reuben, 9, and Peter, 8.

“I had fun racing people for the eggs because the fastest person gets them first,” Reuben said.

Peter said he had fun finding eggs, too, and some of his favorite candies there were the Bottle Caps.

Both brothers made sure they left some eggs for the other kids, though.

Chambers said she enjoyed seeing so many people who were willing to come out and volunteer for the event and was happy to see all of the sweet families and the kids’ smiling faces.