For Peep’s sake: Families hippity hop around Jackson County


The Easter Bunny sure was busy over the weekend as he hippity-hopped all over Jackson County leaving treats for many boys and girls in thousands of colorful eggs.

Jackson County Courthouse

Hundreds of families piled around the Jackson County Courthouse on Saturday afternoon eagerly waiting to gather as many colorful eggs the Easter Bunny had left them that morning.

In the meantime, two Easter bunnies were there for photo opportunities with kids and families as well as opportunities to win various prizes.

This was the fourth annual Easter egg hunt provided by Freedom Fireworks and since then, attendance has been growing.

Besides the 30,000 candy and prize-filled eggs scattered throughout the courthouse lawn, families also had the opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to win one bike out of the 23 donated by various businesses.

Twelve of those bikes were donated by Guardian Bikes in Seymour, eight bikes were donated by Freedom Fireworks and three were donated by Exterior Outdoor Services.

Families also had a chance to win one of 60 Easter baskets and other prizes.

“We had a really good turnout and we have a great team behind us,” said Chris Weise, owner of Freedom Firework and organizer of the event. “Our first year we started out with 10,000 eggs and next year, we hope to have 50,000.”

Weise said that morning Brownstown Fire Department and Walmart associates worked together to scatter the 30,000 eggs on the courthouse lawn.

“If it wasn’t for this community I wouldn’t be in business so, this is a way for us to give back to the community,” he said.

The first 200 kids to see the Easter bunnies for a photo opportunity received a free gift from Freedom Fireworks and face paints also were present to give the kids whiskers and bunny noses.

Rose Acres Farms passed out a free gift to the first 200 kids at their table and Texas Roadhouse along with their mascot Andy Armadillo handed free kids meal coupons and candy.

Three year-old Miley Jo Scruggs, who prefers candy over money, says she has the perfect plan to get the most eggs.

“I’m gonna go really fast,” she said.

Mikayla Robinson said her family has been coming to the Freedom Fireworks Easter egg hunt since it first started.

“They have always had a great turnout and it’s growing every year,” she said. “Chris Weise does a great job and it’s a great time to be with my family.”

Mikayla and her husband, Isaiah, brought their son Xavier, 5, and their seven-month-old daughter, Kailynn, who next year will be able to participate in the egg hunt.

Xavier said he is confident in his strategy and will surely get a lot of eggs.

“I’m just going to run pretty fast and straight out there,” he said. “I think I’m going to get about 100 eggs.”

At the end of the hunt families stuck around to see if they had won one of the bikes that were up for grabs. As families still entered into the drawing, the crowd roared in celebration after the announcer said the Brownstown Central Braves are the new Class 2A state champions.

Emerson Elementary School

There was candy, eggs and smiles galore on Saturday morning at Emerson Elementary, as the fourth annual Tom Judd Memorial Egg-stra Special Easter Egg Hunt was a rousing success.

In addition to two egg hunts — one for younger kids at 10 a.m. and one for older kids at 10:30 — there were various special characters for the children to meet, including JACSY (Jackson County United Way’s Knight mascot), an elephant wearing a pink dress and, of course, the Easter Bunny.

Besides the characters, kids also could meet Miss Jackson County Fair and Miss Congeniality Morgan Branaman, second runner-up Becca Lewis, Miss Southern Indiana Teen Aleah Dean and Flash the miniature therapy horse from Little King Ranch Miniature Therapy Horses.

The event was started by its namesake, the Rev. Thomas “Tom” Judd.

Judd began his career in education at North Vernon Junior High School, where he taught math and later served as assistant principal. He later went on to lead Crothersville Junior-Senior High School and Hayden Elementary School as principals, as well as serve as assistant superintendent for Jennings County School Corp. and as superintendent for Orleans Community Schools and Medora Community School Corp.

After retiring from education, Judd became the minister of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, where he established the Egg-stra Special Easter Egg Hunt for children with special needs.

At the start of the event, Tom’s wife Tina Judd gave opening remarks.

“I’d like to welcome everybody but first I think we all need to give a round of applause to the athletes and the volunteers for Special Olympics,” Tina said. “I want to thank every family that’s represented here. And I also want to remind everyone of the reason for the season, and that’s that Jesus Christ died for our sins.”

Afterwards, the first group of kids scattered around the Emerson playground in search of multi-colored eggs. Special gold eggs could be turned in for prizes such as stuffed bunnies, toy trucks and sports equipment.

Next, the second group took their turn, with Special Olympic athletes wrapping up the event by picking up any remaining eggs.

Jim Shepherd, who was named Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County Coach of the Year in 2021, said he’s glad there’s an Easter event in town that is inclusive to kids with special needs.

“It’s always good for kids to get out and experience the same things that every other kid experiences,” Shepherd said. “Sometimes, if there’s an Easter egg hunt in the community, kids with special needs are kind of left behind, unable to get out there and collect eggs with other kids.”

Gaiser Park

At Gaiser Park in Seymour, activities Saturday morning were centered around the annual Easter egg hunt, sponsored by the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department, Rose Acre Farms, Guardian Bikes, 92.7 WXKU, 99.3 WZZB, and more.

Kids and adults strolled around the park, readying themselves for the hunt and enjoying the other attractions provided.

At 9 a.m., Easter Bunny gave out warm hugs and fuzzy high-fives to the eager kids around her. Courtesy of Walgreens, kids could have their pictures taken with Easter Bunny and pick up the pictures for free after the event at their local Walgreens. Other mascots were present, including Sparky the Fire Dog with Seymour Fire Department, who arrived in a firetruck, welcomed by the kids with open arms.

Before the hunt started, people enjoyed doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate from Mighty Mini Donuts, frozen treats from Kona Ice and received goodies from the multiple booths highlighting the Easter egg hunt’s sponsors.

Some booths had prizes, like the Integrity Morgage Group, which featured a wheel to spin.

Representatives with Rose Acre Farms distributed goodie bags full of candy to the first 250 kids that came to the park.

As 10 a.m. approached, kids and parents stood outside the yellow tape fencing in the hunting grounds, the colorful eggs just outside of arm’s reach.

The announcer urged those wanting to get some eggs to hurry to the tape, the “official Easter egg hunt time” being relayed by him a couple minutes slow compared to everyone else’s cell phones and watches. “I can’t hold [the kids] back anymore,” he said in the final minute of the countdown.

Divided into four age groups, at the moment the announcer said it was time, kids ran under the yellow tape and scattered. The older groups swept the area clean while the younger groups, such as the three-and-under group, were guided by the hand of a guardian at a steady pace.

After the hunt, the kids sat and popped open their Easter eggs one by one. Each egg contained either candy or a piece of paper. Kids tossed their candy back into their baskets while the parents unraveled the papers to reveal what prize their kids may have grabbed. If they got a paper revealing a prize, they could go into the shelter and redeem the paper for it. Each age group had a grand prize, which was a bike from Guardian Bikes. The kids celebrated the end of their hunt with a basket full of treats and big smiles on their faces.

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