7,500 eggs, gone in 10 minutes

Sophia Watkins, 2, of Johnstown greets the Easter bunny during the annual Twin Cities Council of Churches egg hunt in Main Street park in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Kid power was unleashed Saturday.

A total of 7,500 candy-filled plastic eggs vamished in less than 10 minutes at Gloversville and Johnstown Easter egg hunts—not faster than a speeding bullet, but light-seconds faster than children can clean their rooms.

To see the youths’ enthusiasm was a pleasure for Amber Chamberlain, a member of the Gloversville Recreation Commission who, with a friend Keith Hansen, filled all of the eggs with candy in four to five days—with softer candies for the younger children.

“I do it for the kids,” said Chamberlain, who said she filled precisely 5,348 of the eggs herself.

“I like making them happy.”

Fortunately, the Gloversville Fire Department is ready for emergencies.

The sixth annual Gloversville Easter egg hunt at Trail Station Park started at noon. It was supposed to end at 2 p.m., but, by 12:30, a horde of children was heading toward the fire department hungry for more eats.

“We got the trucks out in a hurry and set up,” said Michael Angus, a firefighter and emergency medical technician.

“They cleaned us right out,” he said. He referred to the more than 100 plastic firefighter hats with candy the kids carried off.

It was no different in Johnstown at the Twin Cities Council of Churches’ annual Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m. in the park on Main Street.

Five hundred eggs were filled by Lexington Center clients in preparation for the event in which about 40 children participated.

“It took 20 minutes to put them [the eggs] down,” said the Rev. Brian Dykema, pastor of Johnstown Reformed Church.

“They were gone in two minutes.”

“Things went great,” said Logan Barclay, chairman of the Gloversville Recreation Commission, which sponsored the Trail Station event.

“The weather held up, and everyone got eggs.”

Last year’s event “became too hectic,” so the children were separated by ages—0 to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12—to ensure all the youngsters got a fair shot at the eggs, he said. Parents weren’t allowed on the field unless they were helping the youngest kids. In each age group, one child got a “Lucky Duck” in an egg and won an Easter basket.

“I like that they have something for the kids,” said Joshua Southworth of Northville, whose 3-year-old, Gabriella, participated in the hunt.

“They’re [the children] not running each other over.”

Like the NASA rocket launches, the hunt began with a 10 to zero countdown.

Present to help with pre-hunt setup and to make sure all the children got eggs were Victoria Opalka, Miss Montgomery County; Heather Graves, Miss Fulton County; Lexi Conti, Miss Fulton County’s Outstanding Teen; and Alexa Christiano, Junior Miss Spirit of Fulton County.

The churches’ egg hunt was intended for fun, “a day to promote Easter as a celebration,” and a way of letting people know what Easter services are available, said Dykema. A flier was offered to the parents of the children who participated that gave the names, addresses and Easter service times of the churches.

“It reaches out to people who aren’t associated with a church,” said Pam Miller of St. John’s Episcopal Church, an organizer of the the sixth annual hunt.

“We’ve also seen generations come here—children bringing their children.”

Beth Fraker of First Presbyterian Church brought her daughter Aubrey, 8, as “a fun event and a kickoff for Easter.” They planned to do egg coloring at home.

Kaitlyn Vavruick, 4, came with her parents from Mayfield. “It’s a nice park here,” said her father, Joe, who said the family may go to another egg hunt later in Cambridge, Washington County.

The churches sponsoring the hunt were Grace Lutheran, St. John’s Episcopal, First Presbyterian, Holy Trinity Catholic, Johnstown Reformed, First Congregational Church of Christ, and Foothills and North Main Street United Methodist.

By Chad Fleck

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