New England continues Easter tradition

Dating back to the days of Martin Luther, hunting for eggs has been a tradition during the Easter season for generations.

A young girl reacts to her findings while another boy places his prized in his basket at the annual easter egg hunt in New England. [PHOTO BY KEVIN SCHAEFER]
A young girl reacts to her findings while another boy places his prized in his basket at the annual easter egg hunt in New England.
[PHOTO BY KEVIN SCHAEFER]
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Dating back to the days of Martin Luther, hunting for eggs has been a tradition during the Easter season for generations. Back then, Martin Luther and other men would hide eggs for the women and children to find, as the egg symbolized the stone that covered the tomb where Jesus Christ was laid. And in many other cultures outside of Christianity, an egg is the symbol of new life and rejuvenation.

The spirits of the children in the New England area were certainly rejuvenated when they hunted for their treasured eggs and prizes on April 4 at Riverside Park.

The annual Easter Egg Hunt started at 1 p.m., and a total of 94 kids came out to participate. Coordinating the event is Cheryl Mellmer, and she said that this is the second largest turnout she has seen. Last year a total of 108 kids came out for the event.

Mellmer said the event has been going on for more than 25 years and that it has been growing in recent years. She attributes that to an increase in population New England and the surrounding area has experienced.

“I think we just have more kids in town now,” Mellmer said.

On the slight dip in numbers from last year, Mellmer said the numbers can fluctuate slightly from year to year depending on who travels for the holiday and who stays in the area.

The hunt is divided into three age groups, 0-4 years, 5-7 years and 8-10 years.

Mellmer said it was herself, Jess Sabo, Jamie Sabo, their son Zane, Jamie’s mother Sharon and Reenie Thorstenson that helped out hiding the prizes prior to the 1 p.m. start time. Overall they had 1200 eggs to set out, and they also added different prizes, toys, and individually wrapped candies that the kids could hunt for.

Though the event isn’t sponsored by a  specific group or club of New England, Mellmer said the community is very generous in giving, so the event can be special to the young kids of the area.

The event received money from the city’s sales tax, donations from businesses and some parents of the participating kids.

Also helping to ensure the experience was a good one for the hunters was the local boy and girl scout groups. The weekend prior the two groups participated in service project to clean up the park. They threw away trash and cleaned the area of broken branches and tree limbs.

The weather was great, according to Mellmer.

“It was gorgeous,” Mellmer said.

Though they have only had a few cancellations or reschedules throughout the history of the event.

“If it’s cold and a little windy, we just hunt if we can,” Mellmer said.

High for April 4 was 57 degrees and wind was at a minimum.

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