By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — The annual Easter egg hunt may have been moved indoors due to concerns about inclement weather, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of kids who turned out for the event.
Traditionally held at Mosher Park in the field outside VFW Post 9594, which hosts the event, this year the festivities were moved into the gymnasium at RCS High School.
“We had to make a call — it looked like it was going to rain,” Past Commander Trip Powell said. “It hasn’t rained yet, but this is our alternative venue and we really appreciate the school for letting us use it.”
Powell estimated between 250 and 300 children attended the indoor egg hunt.
Averi Martin, who will turn 2 years old at the end of the month, attended her first Easter egg hunt.
“I am excited to see how she does,” Ashley Martin said. “It will be her first time.”
Christine Snyder, co-chairwoman of the VFW Post 9594 Easter Egg Hunt Event, said this was only the second time she can remember holding the event indoors, the last time being four or five years ago, also due to inclement weather.
But indoors or outdoors, the egg hunt is a favorite annual activity for many local families.
“I think the community absolutely loves this event,” Snyder said. “It gives them a chance to not only enjoy the festivities of Easter, but they also get to see each other and it’s like a reunion in Ravena.”
With families packed into the bleachers and standing along the sidelines, Snyder explained how the egg hunt would operate in the alternative venue. Plastic Easter eggs filled with candy were strewn about the gym floor, with three age groups of children hunting at one time. When all those eggs were picked up, there was a pause as volunteers spread out more plastic eggs for the next round of hunters.
This year, the event offered a new option for families.
“We have something new that we are going to try,” Snyder told the crowd. “If you have a child that is between the ages of 0 and 18 and has some sensory issues, we are offering a new space just for that group. We had planned at the VFW to have it in a separate location with some fencing, but with our change in plans, this is what we have to offer.”
The announcement was met with applause from the crowd.
For many of the younger kids, this was their first egg hunt ever. Last year it was a drive-thru event and in 2020 it was canceled altogether, both times due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But this year, local children appear to have made up for lost time with plenty of enthusiasm.
“This was her first time,” Heather David said of her daughter, Harper, 2. “She had fun.”
Eugene Datri, past commander of VFW Post 9594, worked on organizing the egg hunt for many years and said it has grown tremendously.
“When I started out, we gave away one basket and it grew more and more,” Datri said. “Christine Snyder helped me out and together, we grew it to what it is today.”
Hundreds of plastic eggs were collected by egg hunters, and after the hunt was done, a raffle was held. One wall of the gym was filled with giveaway items including dozens of Easter baskets, toys, stuffed animals, wagons, and a dozen bicycles and tricycles.
Check out more photos from Saturday’s festivities: