MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — More than 300 children and parents showed up to participate in the 8th Annual Iwakuni Easter Egg Hunt at the IronWorks Gym sports courts here Saturday.
The Youth and Teen Center hosted the event by providing goodie bags and more than 2,000 colorful candy-filled eggs for children to collect in their Easter baskets.
Each Easter egg hunt event was divided into age groups; 0-2, 3-5, 6-7 girls, 6-7 boys, 8-10 girls and 8-10 boys.
“Dividing the age groups gives each child a fair chance to get eggs,” said Ivana McCray, YTC program assistant. “The younger age group, if they go out with the bigger kids, may or may not get eggs.”
Excitement built as volunteers scattered tubs full of colorful plastic eggs onto the floor and children gathered around, ready to grab them up.
As soon as Tera Scott, YTC program assistant, gave the word, the children went wild and scrambled to pile as many candy-filled eggs as they could into their baskets.
During each event, a golden egg was hidden in the large pile of Easter eggs, and the child to nab it won a big basket of age appropriate goodies, candies and toys.
Keandra Conner, 7, said she had a lot of fun running to get the eggs with the other girls who participated in the event.
“There were a whole lot of kids,” Conner said. “I got a lot of eggs.”
Children who did not receive eggs or were not present during their age group event got to participate in a separate event and collect goodie bags.
“We wanted to make sure everybody left with something,” said Scott. “Because of the late notice, the kids got candy and eggs.”
While children waited for their particular age group to take their turn, volunteers dressed in white bunny suits and walked around giving out candy and chocolate treats.
“We’re not in the states,” Scott said. “Lots of times, churches have Easter egg hunts, but since we’re away from home and they can’t get that, it’s great to just watch them run around.”
Children and parents also had the opportunity to take memorable photos with Peter Cottontail himself in front of an Easter holiday decorated display.
The YTC and volunteers worked hard to prepare for the event.
“It took hours of putting candy inside of the eggs, organizing our baskets because some of them had to be put together by hand,” said Scott.
The original plan was to host the Easter egg hunt outside at the main parade deck, but due to inclement weather, the event was moved to the IronWorks Gym sports courts.