The age-old question as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, was laid to rest in Veterans Park on Saturday when eggs were hunted, tossed and then raced before any chickens put in an appearance.
“We start off with Easter egg hunts, and divide kids up into two age groups, 1 to 6 years old and 7 to 12 years old,” said Jerry Estes, spokesman for the American Legion. “Then we’ll have an Easter egg toss where the kids throw eggs into a bucket, and after that, there’ll be an Easter egg race where the kids race while they hold an egg on a spoon.”
Only then did eggs give way to chickens in a Chicken Chase. “We’ll release three live chickens,” said Estes. “We set the chickens free, and the kids chase them until all of the chickens have been caught. The winners get a prize. And they get to keep the chicken.”
“Yes,” assured Estes. “They are fully-grown adult chickens.”
“We also have lucky egg drawings, and I threw in a twist this year. There’s a special basket for the youngest girl and the youngest boy, and another one for the oldest adult who’s here.”
“That’s why you brought your mama out today?” asked Dave Raborn, VFW commander.
But when the time came, organizers and their families recused themselves from competition, and the youngest girl present was Brooklyn Doomy, age 3, the youngest boy was Kingston Munoz, age 10 months, and the oldest adult was Tony Wood, age 63.
“This is what we all need to be doing. Having things out here at the park so people can see what’s here. We start with the children, and maybe they’ll notice we have a nice picnic shelter and then come back later,” said Raborn.
“This is a good way to get people out to the park,” agreed Estes. We had about 50 people last year, and I hope it improves every year.” This is the second year for the event.
Chase Arnder, age 10, discussed his strategy before the hunt began.
“I’m going after the golden egg first,” said Chase. “I’ve already spotted one. In the golden egg, there’s probably a golden dollar. My brother got one last year. I almost got one last year, but someone else got there first.“
Chase’s little brother, Cameron Arnder, age 4, confirmed that he did indeed get a golden egg last year, and it did contain a golden dollar.
“It’s in my piggy bank,” said Cameron.
Event organizer Estes confirmed the presence of golden eggs, six of them for each age group. He also confirmed Chase’s suspicions of golden dollars.
“The golden eggs have another egg inside. And inside of that egg is a gold dollar coin,” said Estes.
In addition to the golden eggs, 150 eggs had been hidden. Each was a plastic egg filled with candy.
“We had to tape them shut to keep them from popping open,” said Estes, holding up a brightly-colored plastic egg encircled with clear Scotch tape holding the overstuffed egg together.
After all of the eggs had been found, there was an egg toss for the kids. Elijah Wood won in the younger age group, and Chase Arnder won in the older group.
During the course of the egg-related festivities, several sparkly eggs had been given out mixed among the regular colored eggs. Those sparkly egg recipients were called up to receive their prize, a live bunny. When two of the three winners turned out to be in the same family, their mother said, “One is enough” and a drawing was held to find a winner for the third bunny.
Kylan Payne and Cameron Arnder, both age 4, won bunnies, and the third went to Nancy Linville when her admission number was called.
Leading up to the Chicken Chase, Raborn said, “If you’ve never seen a chicken chase before, you better have an extra pair of pants. You’re going to wet the ones you’re wearing from laughing so hard.”
The chickens were released, and the children wasted no time corralling the chickens. Picking them up did not go so smoothly. Estes insisted a chicken was not caught until it was picked up.
When all was said and done, Brooklyn Doomy, age 3, Kye Linville, age 12, and Tristan Jonczok, age 3, were the lucky recipients of an Easter basket — and a live chicken.
“If you can’t keep the chicken, give it to your neighbor. If your neighbor doesn’t want it, give it to somebody you don’t like,” advised Estes.
All three of the winners gave their chickens to Tony Wood who denied allegations that there was going to be a big chicken Easter dinner at the Wood household.
“I’ve got other chickens. I’ll put these in with the others and let them lay eggs,” said Wood.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.