On Saturday, hundreds of children from Whiting lined up for the city's annual Easter Egg Hunt as part of Hop into Whiting. A line of parents and children stretched from the Whiting Lake Front Pavilion into the parking lot. The parents were eager to see the smiles on their children's faces and the kids couldn't wait to snatch fistfuls of candy off the ground.
The day was perfect weather for an egg hunt. Temperatures reached about the mid-sixties without a single cloud in sight. A large contrast from last year's fridged 30-degree hunt.
"It's a big change from last year's weather," Whiting Special Events Director Mark Harbin continued, "This day is a tradition for Whiting no matter what the weather is. It's always the first event of a very fun day for the city."
The long day for the children began at 10:00 am when children ages 5 and under, lined up in rows to pick up candy scattered on the ground. At 11:00 am the older children would begin their larger hunt throughout Whiting Park.
"This year we went all out. We have 350 easter baskets, at least one for every child. We also purchased $1,000 worth of candy," said Amy Baran Director of Communications for the City of Whiting.
The event has been a tradition in Whiting for decades. Mark Harbin recalled how the event was much different when he was younger.
"When I was a kid it was at a different park in Whiting. That changed some time ago when the City of Whiting took over the egg hunt and really made it a bigger event," he explained.
As the clock pushed closer to 11, the younger children continued to pick up the candy pieces that remained. Often with older sibling or parents helping. 5-year-old Jose Hernandez helped point of pieces for his 3-year-old sister Inez.
"I like helping my sister, because she said I could have some," he said and Inez quickly interjected with, "No, I didn't!"
At 11 AM the big hunt began. Volunteers scattered candy throughout the park and tried to guide children to the starting area. But, many of the children couldnt wait for the voluneers to say, "start."
Having free candy infront of these overly eager children and telling them not to pick it up was like standing on the lakeshore and asking Lake Michigan to stop making waves.
As more and more children prematurely began the hunt, the staff caved and yelled: "GO." The more resistand and restrained children joined in and within minutes acres of candy was picked up off the ground by eager tiny hands.
The next event after the hunt was the parade. The march began at the Whiting YMCA and ended at city hall. In the meantime, dozens of bunnies filled the streets of 119th Street to take photos with the children awaiting the parade.
Mayor Joseph M. Stahura was on scene to watch the parade begin their set up.
"The parade is all about the kids. Easter is really most fun for the kids. Its a holladay where they get baskets filled with toys and candy. It's special to them and it's great that Whiting can be a part of their Easter tradition to help add a few more memories for them," he said.
To find out about more great upcoming events in Whiting, click here!