WALLA WALLA — The annual Exchange Club of Walla Walla Children’s Easter Egg Hunt took a little longer than expected this year, but not because there weren’t enough kids to scoop up 480 pounds of bite-size foil wrapped chocolate eggs.
“That’s 40,000 eggs, give or take,” Exchange Club member Tina Bradbury said.
Bradbury and husband Kyle were in charge of organizing this year’s hunt at Pioneer Park.
Usually the event takes five to 10 minutes. But this year two of the special gift eggs couldn’t be found for up to 35 minutes. And there is some question if the final egg was ever found.
Having started their day at 7:15 a.m., by 9:35 a.m. Exchange Club volunteers were getting hungry for their breakfast of eggs.
Among those volunteers were Dan Park and Jim Ruff, whose job it was to hide the special 26 plastic gift eggs.
Any child who found a plastic gift egg was entitled to one of 23 Easter gift baskets loaded with candy. There were also three plastics eggs that earned the finder a brand new bike.
Park and Ruff said they could remember where they hid all 26 eggs, and they made sure to not cover them too well.
“I thought about that. And I tried to make sure that they were not covered up all the way, so the kids could find them and so we could,” Ruff said.
When they first started the event there were no plastic eggs. Ron Courson would know. He attended the first Exchange Club Easter Egg Hunt when he was about 10.
“When it first started they had real hard-boiled eggs,” Courson said.
Eventually, the real eggs were switched to plastic eggs filled with jelly beans. Somewhere along the way the plastic eggs were switched to the foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and special gift eggs were added.
Courson’s participation has also changed over four generations. His first experience was as an egg-seeking child, then as an accompanying dad, followed by accompanying grandparent and finally as a great-grandparent taking his great-grandson Antonio.
“We’ve been coming here since he’s been 3,” Courson said.
By 9:20 a.m. on Saturday, the first 21 gift baskets were all claimed by boys; all three new bikes went to girls.
That left two gift eggs that kept families milling about and searching for 35 minutes.
Finally, a girl found the second-to-last egg in the roots of one of the old trees.
As for the last egg, it never turned up, although Park and Ruff are certain someone had to have picked it up.
Fate would have it that earlier that morning a mother complained that her girl found a special egg but was pushed aside before she could pick it up.
“Every year there is always a kid that has spotted an egg and got knocked over,” Kyle Bradbury said.
So with no final egg turned in, an eggsecutive decision was made.
The girl who was pushed got the last basket.