Milan Nelson, 23 months, hangs onto his egg basket at Northern Berkshire Christian Church in North Adams. Top, chasing eggs at Clarksburg Town Field.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — It may have been cold, dreary and damp on Saturday morning, but that did not stop dozens of children from scrambling over the half-frozen Town Field in search of Easter eggs.
Members of the Peter A. Cook Veterans of Foreign War Post 9144 have been holding an annual Easter egg hunt at the Town Field since 1986.
Children were divided into three categories according to age and waited anxiously with their parents under the pavilion for their group to be called. They made mad dashes through the soaked field to the candy-filled plastic eggs waiting to be snatched up.
David Beebe and his brother, Dan, both of Clarksburg, said this was their first year participating in the event.
"I'm very fast so I am going to get lots of candy," said an excited David. His brother Dan agreed with he was the speedy one, "He beats me in races like this all the time."
Children who did not manage to retrieve many eggs were given some of the extras held back by the veterans to ensure everyone had something to bring home.
Special eggs are a tradition in Clarksburg; this year, the lollipop egg was worth an extra prize. Children lucky enough to grab one of the special eggs were awarded a basket of candy and toys or a chocolate bunny.
"I would like to thank my fellow members for helping set up and organize another successful event," said post Cmdr. Ray Vachereau. "Joe Bushika, Carl Cahoon, Bobby King, Phil Fosser and Al Brooks did a great job again their year."
Winners of the Easter baskets and chocolate bunnies were Kaley Bushika, Tiana Carver, Julia Jammalo, Cam Harrison, Josh Giron and Amelia Renaud.
The veterans are old hands at putting on Easter egg hunts, a tradition a North Adams church is also hoping to follow.
Pastor Bob Bellofatto and his wife, Sarah, of Northern Berkshire Christian Church at 55 Harding St. held their first-ever Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning and were pleased that the turnout was greater than expected.
Unfortunately, the two-hour event didn't go as long as planned; craft activities for the kids after the hunt had to be cut because of the weather.
"We had 40 children lined up at 10 o'clock and it didn't take long for all the eggs to be gone," Sarah Bellafatto said. "Unfortunately, because of the threat of rain, we decided not to put the craft tables out but despite all that, this event was a huge success."
Children were told to gather 10 eggs each and were encouraged to open them to see if they contained a message for a special prize such as an Easter pencil, bracelet, stencil or a chocolate treat.
The threat of rain did not discourage 23-month-old Milan Nelson and his parents from participating in the activities. As Milan sat in his red wagon enjoying his chocolate treats he was asked the question of the day, "Who is coming to see you tonight?" With a smile on his face he said, "The Easter Bunny."
By 10:45, the last of the candy-filled eggs were gone despite many children who were still arriving with their parents to participate in the day's activities.
Ayden Crisp and Brandon Tanguay of North Adams were the morning last participants. Bellafatto made sure that no child went away empty-handed and generously gave all children that came late a prize for attending.
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