Unexpectedly sunny day makes egg hunts even <i>more</i> fun

by: David F. Ashton Six-year-old Duniway Elementary School student Quinn Thomas gets a big hug from the Easter Bunny in Westmoreland Park.

It's no secret that we've been having an especially wintry spring this year. Plus, in the years we've taken our camera to the Sellwood-Westmoreland and the Woodstock Easter Egg hunt events on the Saturday morning before Easter, we can hardly remember a time we didn't need an umbrella.

But, as if in reward for our suffering through a cold and wet spring, on Saturday, April 23rd, the clouds cleared, the sun shone forth, and it became the warmest day of the year 2011 to date - the first day of the year to reach the 70-degree mark at the Portland Airport office of the National Weather Service. (THE BEE recorded an unofficial high of 74 degrees in Westmoreland.)

With raincoats left home and umbrellas put away, hundreds of kids awaited the signal to start gathering some of the thousands of chocolate and toy-filled Easter eggs scattered about Westmoreland and Mt. Scott parks.

At Westmoreland Park, as has been done for decades, the neighborhood association SMILE arranged to close the south end of the park for age-separated egg-hunting fields, and paid for all the foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. And again this year, the Oaks Bottom Lions Club members scattered about 160 pounds of the candies at this free family event.

'The best part about doing it, is watching the kids,' remarked this year's chair, Terry Turck, as he kept his eye on the time. 'We do this help our community, and to let people know that the Lions are here to help with more than sight and hearing projects.'

For the first time, the Woodstock Neighborhood Association's Easter Egg Hunt - started ten years ago by Woodstock realtor Janis Wigg - represented a cooperative project with the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, and was moved from Woodstock Park to Mt. Scott Park, at S.E. 72nd and Harold Street, as a result. There, hundreds of families listened to the master of ceremonies, Tom Vice of Lifehouse Church, count down to the signal for the dash for the eggs.

In two areas of Mt. Scott Park were distributed 3,012 hollow plastic eggs containing trinkets, candy, or stickers. 'We also spread out a couple thousand wrapped chocolate eggs,' added Vice. 'With this bigger event, we're thankful for the turnout of more than 40 volunteers who helped put this together.' The event was also sponsored by the Woodstock Community Business Association.

The volunteers smiled as kids, young and older, dashed for the prizes and candy. 'Events like these remind us all of the importance of community,' observed Vice. 'It's a beautiful way to bring people together on a fantastic spring weekend, and help them connect with their neighborhood associations and with one another.'

Oh - and it didn't rain this year!