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Hundreds turn out for first outdoor egg hunt since 2019

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Kids in the age 5-6 category get ready to take off and collect as many eggs as they can. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — The traditional Easter Egg Hunt at Mosher Park hasn’t taken place since 2019, but egg hunters made up for lost time Saturday when hundreds turned out for the annual event.

Co-hosted by VFW Post 9594/Unitas Memorial Veterans Association and the VFW 9594 Auxiliary, the Easter Egg Hunt was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held as a drive-thru event in 2021, and was indoors at the high school last year because of inclement weather.

But skies were clear this Saturday for the event’s return to the Mosher Park field outside the VFW Post, and there were a record-setting number of plastic eggs to be hunted.

“This year we have 3,825 eggs, we have 115 items to raffle off and we have an immense group of volunteers. I want to shine a light on them this year,” Easter Egg Hunt Committee co-chair Christine Snyder said.

In addition to the VFW and Auxiliary members who organize and host the event each year, there were volunteers from Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who helped stuff the plastic eggs, and for the first time there were members of the National Honor Society and Junior National Honor Society from RCS High School. Village workers also helped set up the red snow fence around the “sensory area,” a designated area for children with sensory sensitivities that was tried last year at the high school gym and this year had its outdoor debut.

“It’s a 0-18 space for children who have any type of sensory needs who cannot or don’t feel comfortable hunting with the large crowd,” Snyder said. “Hopefully, this provides a new space for them with variant-sized eggs, from small to jumbo, to add a little variety.”

When families first arrived at Mosher Park each child was given an American flag, a list of instructions and raffle donors, a free raffle ticket and a cloth bag to collect their eggs.

“The National Bank of Coxsackie donated 250 cloth bags this year for the first time, which is another wonderful addition,” Snyder said.

Children were divvied up by age group and then when they were given the all-clear, rushed out into the field to gather up as many candy-filled Easter eggs as they could. The thousands of plastic eggs were recycled afterwards for reuse next year.

The event, now in its 72nd year, always draws a huge crowd.

“This takes several months to plan, but I think the community loves the opportunity to see one another after a long winter,” Snyder said. “I think the children are ‘egg-cited’ to just be outside and make memories that will last a lifetime and to enjoy the joy of the Easter season.”

Mom and dad Meghan and Melvin Rivers and their children, Avah and Mason Rivers, get ready for some serious egg hunting just before the start of Saturday’s festivities at Mosher Park. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

For Avah and Mason Rivers, this was their first time coming to the egg hunt.

“We found out about it this morning,” dad Melvin Rivers said. “We found out there was going to be the annual Easter Egg Hunt and that they haven’t had it in a while because of the pandemic, so we are very excited to be here this year.”

Village Trustee Linda Muller has brought her grandson to the event for years and was glad to see its return to Mosher Park this time around.

“This is great — it’s a huge event and I am amazed by how many people are here,” Muller said. “The parking is taken in every parking lot that we have here — even the pool parking lot is all filled up. This is just such a great event.”

Local resident Jessica Brown brought her kids and said it’s an annual event for her family.

“We have done this every year,” Brown said. “They always have a good time.”

For her daughter, Olivia Boniface, 7, it was a fun time.

“My favorite part is getting the eggs,” Olivia said.

Jessica Brown and her daughter, Olivia Boniface, 7, get ready for the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Mosher Park. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

About 250 kids attended the event Saturday, said Chris Parker, VFW quartermaster and co-chair of the Easter Egg Hunt Committee.

“I think this is one of the biggest community events in Ravena every year, besides the Friendship Festival,” Parker said. “We have been doing it for 72 years, so there are people here who came as kids and now they bring their kids. There might even be grandparents who came here as kids. It’s been going on for so many years. We really enjoy doing this for the community and all the businesses in the community really support us.”

After the egg hunt, families could visit indoors at the VFW Post with the Easter bunny and then outside there were 115 prizes and gift baskets donated by local businesses that were raffled off. Each child was given a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize and could pick out their own.

Sylas Blount, 8, was one of the first to win a raffle prize and selected a gift basket themed with his favorite characters.

“I love Disney Pixar cars,” Sylas said. “They are my favorite.”

Sylas Blount and his mom, Laura Haskell, with Sylas’ Disney Pixar Cars-themed gift basket. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

For the Karaszkiewicz family — Samantha, Charlotte, Katie and Madison, and mom Alison — the egg hunt and raffle are a family favorite.

“Every year we come and we always stay for the raffle,” Karaszkiewicz said. “I think they have won a bike every single year. They always get something — they are having a great time.”

Six-month-old Chloey Maher posed with the Easter bunny and her mom, Meghan Maher, said she was all smiles all morning long. For dad and veteran Jesse Maher, the event also has a deeper meaning.

“Coming here and seeing all the people has been great,” Maher said, “but it also gives a look at what the VFW likes to do and it gives veterans the chance to give back to the community they fought for.”

Here are more photos from Saturday’s event, and check out this week’s Ravena News-Herald issue, on newsstands Thursday, for more images of the festivities:

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