Thousands of people have been filling J.F. Gregory Park every year around Easter, and this year should be no different.
Families are invited to celebrate Easter on Saturday for the eighth annual Easter Extravaganza Egg Hunt. The free event is sponsored by New Beginnings Community Church and begins at 11 a.m.
“We just started this event as a way of giving back to the community to show the love of Christ,” event director Melody Lane said. “We wanted to give back and share with others out of love. It’s just a great family day where people can come together, not worry about a cost and enjoy a day together.”
According to Lane, the event brings thousands of people to the park each year – between 2,500 and 3,500 people.
“It’s packed,” she said. “You can’t put another car in there.”
That many people means a lot of eggs are needed for the event.
“We put out a total of more than 30,000 eggs,” Lane said. “After the egg hunt, any child that didn’t get enough eggs, we have some kept back to give them. We don’t want anyone going home unhappy. We want each child to get at least 15 eggs.”
The egg hunt is separated into five age categories ranging from 1-year-olds to 10-year-olds. Most of the eggs are filled with candy. Some of the eggs have small toys or golden dollars inside.
Each age category also includes a few prize eggs, which are for Easter gift baskets donated by church members. Local businesses also donate items for prize eggs.
Richmond Hill resident Kira Thomas and her three children – ages 11, 9 and 6 – have attended the event for the past four years and plan to go again this year.
“It’s like a day of fun,” Thomas said. “The kids look forward to it every year. Egg hunt, pictures and food – it’s just overall fun.”
The event also includes hometown carnival games, like an egg toss and egg shoot where each child receives a treat whether winning or losing the game.
Savannah Inflatables will have a bounce house available for the children to play in. Children can also get their photo taken with the Easter Bunny.
Volunteers will be grilling hot dogs for families. Chips, cookies and drinks will also be available. All of the food, games and prizes will be free of charge.
“My kids love the pictures with the Easter Bunny, which is free,” Thomas said. “The kids get tons of candy inside their eggs and sometimes they get a prize egg. It’s always fun to go up and get your basket or prize.”
Thomas’s 11-year-old has won a gift basket during the Easter egg hunt, and her other two children have both found golden dollars inside their eggs.
Lane said around 85 volunteers help with the event. Different people within the church head up different areas of the event such as parking, games or food. Other volunteer groups sometimes come out to the event to help as well.
“We looked around and realized there weren’t any events available to families during Easter time,” Lane said. “There was not a family community event, plus the kids are usually on spring break or close to it. It’s a great time to come together and know that Christ has died on the cross and given us new life. Easter is a great time to do that.”
Thomas said she loves how the event brings the whole community together.
“It’s great for families, and it’s all free,” Thomas said. “Everyone is welcome. It’s always appreciated to have the whole community come together. There’s a sense of family within the community. There are so many events for everyone to take part in. It gives you a sense of belonging within the community.”