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Santa Clarita: Residents flock to Saturday Easter events

Posted: March 30, 2013 2:31 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2013 2:31 p.m.

Dan Huynh, 6, right, leads the charge as hundreds of youngsters pick up some of the thousands of plastic Easter eggs full of prizes and candy at the "Eggstravaganza" Easter egg hunt at Central Park in Saugus on Saturday morning. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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Santa Clarita Valley residents turned out in force to attend a series of early Easter events held Saturday across the city.

At Central Park, hours of preparation boiled down to a minute-long frenetic flurry of activity Saturday as thousands of kids took part in the annual “Eggstravaganza” hunt for plastic Easter eggs with prizes inside.

Children, many decked out in pastel colors and swinging wicker baskets and pails, laughed and ran around playing impromptu games before the hunt began a little after 10 a.m.

But children weren’t the only ones getting in the Easter spirit. Santa Clarita resident Karla Lund donned a headband in the shape of a flower as she stood with her two children before the event.

Lund said just getting her family to the hunt took some planning.

“There’s a strategy that goes into this,” she said. “But finding a parking spot takes the most strategy.”

Eggstravaganza is a cooperative effort between the city of Santa Clarita and the Saugus Action Committee with prizes and resources donated from a variety of local businesses.

Mark Weiss, chairman of the Saugus Action Committee, estimated around 5,000 children participated in this year’s hunt, making it the largest in the eight years the committee has helped organize it.

To send all of the participants home with something in their Easter baskets was no small feat. Weiss said members of the committee, along with a group of teenage volunteers, started work at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to spread 27,500 plastic eggs around the park in time for the event’s 10 a.m. start.

Hours of work were undone in about a minute as the children wasted little time claiming their share of Easter eggs.

“Everybody just really seems to enjoy the event,” Weiss said after the hunt.

After the hunt, committee members used to collect all the plastic egg shells discarded by the young hunters, but this year the hunt featured completely biodegradable egg shells.

“Easter has gone green,” Weiss said with a smile.

For the hunt, children were divided into age groups: those 3 years old and under; 4- and-5-year-olds; 6- and-7-year-olds; and those ages 8 to 10.

This was done to give every child a fair shot at the eggs, Weiss said.

While some of the eggs contained candy, others held erasers, stickers, coupons to local restaurants or tickets that allowed a child to claim an Easter gift basket filled with toys.

After the event, Santa Clarita resident Alicia Green sat with her 6-year-old daughters, Reyna and Jenna, to help them open their eggs and sort through their loot.

“This was a way bigger event than I thought,” Green said. “I can’t believe how many people were here.”

Green said she and her family moved to Santa Clarita from Florida about eight months ago.

“This is definitely going to be an annual thing for us from now on,” Green said of the event. “It’s a new family tradition.”

Across town, several hundred community members gathered at Bethlehem Lutheran Ministries in Canyon Country for a few hours of food, fun and fellowship.

The early Easter event, dubbed an “Eggventure,” featured a variety of carnival-style games with prizes of candy, face painting and a visit from the Easter Bunny.

Debbie D’Amico, the director of family ministries at the church, said it was the third year the church has held the event.

“This is really about the community,” D’Amico said. “It’s about us providing a service to the community.”

While many of the people who turned out during the two-hour event belonged to the church, the event drew others as well.

Valencia resident Kristina Houston brought her children to “Eggventure” for the first time Saturday.

Houston said she enjoyed it because it was a bit smaller than some other Easter activities.

“This is so nice,” she said of “Eggventure.” “And it’s very easy to just drop by with your family.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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