Eggs will be nestled in the grass waiting to be found by the children of Midlothian during the city’s annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.
About 500 kids are expected to show up at 10 a.m. to the Midlothian Sports Complex to hunt for the eggs full of sweets and goodies, said Mary McDonald, assistant to the city manager.
“It seems to have more and more kids every year,” she noted.
Years prior, the event was held at Kimmel Park, but because of the continued growth and popularity it was moved to the sports complex, McDonald noted.
City officials took over handling the hunt in 2014 and have seen it grown ever since.
The rush to find eggs never lasts long, McDonald added. She said the Easter Bunny lets the kids loose with the sound of a blow horn and it only takes a couple of minutes for it to be over.
The event starts at 10 a.m. sharp, and there is no room for late entries.
“It’s kind of a scramble,” she said. “You can’t be late.”
The mad dash for the eggs is separated by age groups that will be placed on separate fields. McDonald said the younger kids take longer to find the eggs.
New this year, the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Department funded to have eggs made for the visually impaired to find, she said. The eggs make a loud beeping noise so the children can find them without having to seem them. Those eggs will be located on the tennis courts.
After the egg hunt, two Easter bunnies will be available for photos.
“It usually takes about an hour when all is said and done,” McDonald noted.
But it takes much longer than that to plan.
The city staff doesn’t have to worry about stuffing the eggs because they buy them prepacked, but they do rely on help with hiding them.
The event is funded by through donations and grants. Most of the funding comes from a $5,000 grant from the Midlothian Community Development Corporation with an additional $1,000 donation from local businesses in town, McDonald said.
City of Midlothian budget analyst Tim McRoberts typically dons the Easter bunny suit, but this year he will be joined with a female bunny.
He didn’t always wear the fluffy gloves and large bunny head. It all started when his coworkers walked into his office with the suit in tow.
“I was honored they thought of me,” he said. “I’m always willing to help out.”
That was five years ago.
Since then, McRoberts has had some grand entrances. One year, he was hoisted up in a bucket truck and suspended above the crowd to kick off the hunt.
“That was not easy,” he said.
He noted the fluffy gloves offered no grip, the large feet were unstable and he couldn’t see through the bunny head. Regardless, it’s one of his favorite bunny-related memories.
“It’s gone pretty good,” McRoberts said. “It’s been fun.”
He said during the event, he gets handed many kids and takes about 200 pictures. The kids have differing reactions
“Some of them smile and give me a hug,” he noted. “Others are completely frightened and cry.”
McRoberts said he is looking forward to wearing the suit again and plans on doing it as long as people want him as the bunny.
“It's a really fun event that the city puts on,” he said. “It’s such a really neat thing.”
Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty