“It’s not a competition, it’s a mission,” is the way Amanda Rhinesmith described the modified Easter Egg Hunt at Camp Jefferson on Saturday, March 27.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, “hunting” for eggs was off the table. So Grace Rhinesmith, recreation director and Amanda’s mother, devised a way they could gather eggs and win prizes.

Rhinesmith sprayed circles on the playing field and allowed each visiting child to pick up the plastic eggs the Easter Bunny’s official helpers – park employees and a few volunteers – deposited in the circles. 

Families arrived with COVID questionnaires filled out and had their temperatures checked before queuing until Rhinesmith let them run to their circle. 

Pre-registration was required this year and it drew 450 participants, including parents.

The warm weather was a real bonus, Rhinesmith said. In the past, rainouts moved the event into the Middle School gym. This year, rain would have meant a cancellation. She noted for 10 consecutive years rain or mud forced the hunt inside. 

Increases in COVID cases forced the Easter Bunny to cancel, Rhinesmith said. She was afraid children swarming around the bunny would not be safe. The kids hardly seemed to notice as they checked each plastic egg for a note telling them they would receive a milk chocolate Peter Rabbit. One of those eggs was in each circle and a few eggs contained notes for a special prize, an extra-large chocolate bunny, a stuffed animal, or a basket of goodies. 

The day went smoothly, although volunteers had to move the chocolate bunny boxes out of the sun several times. 

At one point an intrepid squirrel discovered the chocolate and snatched a box, pulled the chocolate rabbit out, and took off for the woods. The consensus of the staff was that the squirrel went into a sugar-coma before he could alert other squirrels to the bounty, because no other rabbits disappeared.

Senior contributing writer Jane Primerano may be contacted at jane.primerano@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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