While the origins of the Easter egg are debatable, the colored eggs themselves have become as synonymous with the holiday as chocolate rabbits and dressing in your Sunday best.
The only thing as fun as painting Easter eggs is hunting for them. Historic Bellefonte Inc. is, for the sixth year, bringing the Bellefonte Community Easter Egg Hunt to the downtown.
About 15,000 plastic eggs, stuffed with treats and surprises, will be hidden throughout Talleyrand Park on Saturday afternoon, HBI coordinator Mary McMurtrie said. The event typically attracts about 700 children.
“It’s a fun-filled free event for the community,” she said.
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Several organizations around Bellefonte — including the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Elks Lodge and the Undine Fire Company — have made donations in plastic eggs, candy and money for the hunt, she said. Many businesses have also made donations for prizes in the forms of gift cards, Easter baskets and coupons to be stuffed into the eggs.
“I have 2,000 coupons in the eggs,” she said, “for things like ice cream cones at the Cafe On the Park or a slice of pizza at Pizza Mia. Lots of things.”
The Bellefonte Lions Club has even donated two bicycles along with an additional donation of two bikes to be given away as prizes, she said.
The hunt is slated to begin at 2 p.m. and takes over the whole park, McMurtrie said. Entertainment will be provided by the churches of the area. An inflatable bounce house will be on the scene, as well as a soccer shoot, balloons and snacks. 3WZ Radio will broadcast from the gazebo.
The hunt is divided into three age groups, she said — 4 years old and under, 5 to 8 years old and 9 to 12 years old.
“As far as you can see, there are kids,” she said, “lined up three or four deep waiting to get into the park.”
Volunteers begin putting eggs out around 11 a.m., she said, with everything expected to be set up by 1 p.m. Families are invited to have some snacks, play in the bounce house and have fun by that time.
At 1:30 p.m., the Easter Bunny will make an appearance riding an Undine fire truck to meet the kids, she said. The Easter Bunny will start the hunt one age group at a time, with the 4 and under group starting first, then the next two oldest groups respectively.
The hunt attracts kids from all over the area, she said, from State College to Milesburg and Penns Valley and beyond. Some participants have even been from as far out as New York.
McMurtrie encourages participants to get to the park early, as finding nearby parking can become an issue.
“If you wait till close to 2,” she said, “you might not find parking and walk to the park in time for the hunt.”