Members of New Beginnings Church and volunteers throughout Richmond Hill are preparing for a big Easter event at J.F. Gregory Park on Saturday, March 22.
The event, tabbed the second annual Easter Extravaganza, will kick off at 11 a.m. The day will feature an Easter egg hunt with 15,000 eggs, free pictures with the Easter Bunny, entertainment with puppeteers and bounce-around-inflatables and free food and drink. The event is in cooperation with the city of Richmond Hill and Mayor Richard Davis is scheduled to give a speech at the opening ceremony at 11 a.m.
New Beginnings Pastor Steve Lane said the overwhelming attendance of last year, with virtually no advertising, has spurred the planning of a bigger and better Easter event this year. Lane said he had projected that about 200 people would attend last year’s event and was surprised when it was closer to 700.
"We were prepared though," Lane said. "We utilized our backup plan which was going to Kroger to get more food and just working a little harder. Everybody had a good time, but we’re going to be better prepared this year. We expect over a thousand people this year."
Organizers have held regular meetings since January in preparation for the big event. This has included the enlistment of over 30 sponsors which have contributed everything from food to entertainment. Lane said when it’s all said and done, the church will be at a loss financially, but that he that his congregation are excited about the community contribution that the event entails.
"Our church wants to be known as a church that gives back to the community," Lane said. "This event continues to exceed our greatest expectations and we look forward to making a bigger and better event next year. We already have some exciting new ideas for the 2009 Easter Extravaganza."
Lane also wants to get the word out that this is a rain or shine event.
"We’re praying for good weather, but the show must go on if it rains," he said. In the event of rain, the cookout and puppet show will take place under the pavilion with Easter eggs to be distributed equally among all the children present.
Weather.com is projecting sunny weather. In that case, the Easter egg hunt will be on and organizers have come up with what they believe is a fair approach at it. The egg hunt, which is open to kids 10 and under, will be divided into age brackets with a team leader assigned to each group. Each group will have a separate section of the park in which to search for eggs. The eggs are filled with candy and toys. There will also be several special prize eggs which will have a piece of paper inside them telling the child what upgraded prize they have won. There is also one golden egg which will signify an expensive surprise gift.
Lane said more volunteers are needed to help hide eggs and for a variety of other tasks and he encourages those willing to help to call him at 308-7635.
The premier sponsors for the event include Plantation Lumber, Hill of Beans, Bryan County News, Page Printing, Soiree by Maxwell Design, Southeastern Bank, S&J Bookkeeping, Harvey’s, Lin Insurance, Sellstate Coastal Realty, Papa’s Pizza, Cobblestone Photography, Derst Bakery, among others.