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Easter-egg hunt a big hit

Posted: April 12, 2009 1:06 a.m.
Updated: April 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

One-year-old Mackenzie Mueller, of Saugus, collects eggs during her first egg hunt at Central Park on Saturday morning.

 

Easter’s traditional egg hunt lasted only a couple of minutes for the hundreds of children who clutched colorful Easter baskets on the grassy field of Central Park in Santa Clarita Saturday morning.

When they heard their cue to begin Santa Clarita’s 19th annual “Eggstravaganza” Easter egg hunt, they searched with such enthusiasm that the event was over almost as soon as it started as children from toddlers to 10-year-olds scrambled to pick up plastic eggs filled with candy and prizes scattered over the grass.

Indeed, this egg hunt was about more than just the traditional hard-boiled and colored egg.

Austin Giraldo, 10, discovered a pink numbered ticket in one of his eggs. On that ticket was a number that matched an item he eyed at the prize table before the hunt.

“I saw a (bicycle) helmet and I got it,” Giraldo said as he pulled the ticket out of his basket. “I was really excited to get one of those prizes.”

Ten-year-old Ayla Padilla, of Newhall, also found a prize ticket, as well as some coupons to Baskin Robbins.

“It was really fun,” said Padilla, who attended the hunt with her father and younger sister. “There’s lots of kids. The eggs go really, really fast.”

The Central Park egg hunt was hosted by the Saugus Action Committee, which has partnered with the city for 19 years to provide the free event at the park on Bouquet Canyon Road. The city also held two other egg hunts Saturday morning, one at Valencia Glenn and another at Canyon Country parks.

“It’s just for the community, (and) to bring everybody together,” said Saugus Action Committee chairman Mark Weiss.

The hunt and its prizes are funded through donations collected from local businesses and organizations throughout the year, Weiss said. This year’s event provided about 130 prizes at each park, including gift certificates to everywhere from Lamppost Pizza to the Dodger stadium.

The event also featured a food drive with the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry for the first time, allowing families to donate nonperishable items.

“Whatever is donated, we’re happy to take,” said the organization’s Executive Director Belinda Crawford. “It will help stock our shelves, because last year we had a 60-percent increase in the number of clients.”

Parents said they liked the fact that the egg hunt was set up into four sections divided by age groups.

Allyson Putnam said her 1-and-half-year-old daughter, Natalie, had a better chance finding the eggs among children her own age in the three-and-under section.

“At first, she didn’t quite understand the concept of it, but once we kind of had to push her out there, she saw all the other kids getting all the candies and she knew what she had to do,” said Putnam, who also brought her 4-year-old son.

The Santa Clarita resident said she appreciated the city’s efforts to provide a fun, free Easter event.

“I think that’s very nice, given the economy right now,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of the holiday, but it turned out it was pretty good.”

 

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