Nasty weather outside makes for big crowd at indoor Easter egg hunt
It was cold and rainy outside, but warm and lively inside the Hudson Middle School multi-purpose room and gymnasium Saturday morning.
An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people turned out for the 15th annual Community Easter Egg Hunt started by Christ Center Assembly of God Church.
This year, Christ Center had help from nearby Harvestime Outreach Church in collecting the candy and prizes for the event, setting it up and running it.
Asked how much candy was given away, Pastor Mike Roeder of Christ Center replied, "I can't remember, except it was a lot."
Roeder said more than 100 volunteers from Christ Center and Harvestime helped with organizing and running the event.
Around 1,000 children ages 12 and younger participated in a series of five egg hunts inside the school gym, which was decorated to look like a community with streets, parks, shops, houses, churches and more.
In reality, there wasn't much hunting involved as children scrambled to gather wrapped candy and plastic eggs strewn about the scenery. The eggs contained candy, too.
A few golden eggs held tickets to larger prizes.
Each child received a ticket as he or she entered the school and a drawing was held for eight bicycles and a few iPods at the end of the event.
The children and their parents were entertained with Christian music and prize-giveaways as they waited in the school's multi-purpose room for the egg hunt for their age group. Lisa Hawkins, who directs the children's program at Christ Center with her husband, Matt, organized the entertainment.
Roeder said the motivation for holding the event truly is to be "a blessing" to the community.
"God so loved the world that he gave, and we want to be outwardly focused," he said. "We want to reflect that heart."
"In reality, it's not about what we get out of it," Roeder added. "We don't measure our success by how many people end up coming to Christ Center (because of the event)."
The organizers aren't bashful about proclaiming the Christian message of Christ's death and resurrection, and the pastor said that, too, is part of the motivation for sponsoring the event.
"People really appreciate that element," he said, reporting that members of other Hudson churches often tell him so.
He said the members of Christ Center have discussed how long they can continue the event, given the amount of work and fundraising it entails. It helped to have Harvestime Outreach Church's participation this year, Roeder said.
He said Harvestime enthusiastically joined the effort soon after he talked to Pastor Randy Simonson about it at a Tuesday morning prayer meeting of the Hudson Ministerial Association.
Harvestime members also contributed to the purchase of the prizes, Roeder said.