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More security promised at Easthampton egg hunt

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Children begin the annual Easthampton Community Center Easter egg hunt in 2012 at Millside Park. Organizers say this year's event on Saturday will have improved supervision to make sure that parents do not interfere with the egg-hunting.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Children begin the annual Easthampton Community Center Easter egg hunt in 2012 at Millside Park. Organizers say this year's event on Saturday will have improved supervision to make sure that parents do not interfere with the egg-hunting. Purchase photo reprints »

— Organizers of the city’s annual Easter egg hunt are looking forward to a successful event Saturday after taking steps to ensure overzealous parents don’t spoil the fun.

The Easthampton Community Center and more than 100 volunteers put on the event, where around 200 children collect 18,000 plastic eggs filled with treats and prizes. The annual hunt has been going strong for over 20 years, but last year’s event was diminished when interfering parents jumped the rope barriers and ran into the melee to help their kids grab eggs in Millside Park.

Community Center Director Robin Bialecki said that while most families had a fine time last year, volunteers reported a few parents behaved rudely and others encouraged the older children to pillage the egg-hunting area reserved for kids 4 and under, resulting in a few toddlers being knocked over. About a dozen parents refused to leave the egg-hunt area, she said.

Bialecki said she is confident the event will run smoothly this year because she has recruited more volunteers and police officers to monitor it.

“We have more volunteers to make sure parents don’t go out with the kids in the field,” she said. “We’ll definitely be enforcing the rules.”

Parents are allowed to assist children under 4, who hunt in a separate area. “The younger kids are always separate, but we’ll have more adults to make sure they stay that way,” she said.

One thing Bialecki can’t control about the event is the weather. Due to the recent snow, she said the hunt will be held in the parking lot of the Municipal Building at 50 Payson Ave. The event was originally supposed to be held at Daley Field on Hisgen Avenue, but it is too snowy now, she said.

The Easter bunny will arrive to start the egg hunt at 10 a.m.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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