There's no better sign that springtime has arrived than seeing hundreds of kids, in two neighborhoods, running - baskets in hand - at the start of annual Easter Egg hunts on the Saturday before Easter, which this year was a very early March 22nd.
Sellwood-Westmoreland's Easter Egg Hunt
It was promoted as 'come rain-or-shine'; this year, the luck of the draw was brilliant sunshine, which drew hundreds of families to this annual event.
The decades-old Sellwood-Westmoreland egg hunt is always free, but many folks brought canned goods to contribute to the FISH Food Bank, and some others offered cash donations.
'We love helping SMILE put on this event,' said Edwina Swart, President of the Oaks Bottom Lions Club. 'It's just great; the kids are having lots of fun.'
At 10 am sharp, the ribbons cordoning off areas in the southern part of Westmoreland Park were lifted, and the kids took off on their hunt. Actually, the colorfully foil-wrapped milk-chocolate eggs were plentiful - making the kids' mission one more of 'gathering' than 'searching'.
Because the three football-field-sized areas were swept clean of candies in minutes, the organizers made sure no one went home empty-handed. They thoughtfully withheld a small bucket of treats for those too timid to grab their share.
10th Annual Woodstock Easter Egg Hunt
After the Sellwood-Westmoreland event, we had just enough time to drive east to the other event, now in its tenth year.
Set more as a 'hunt', families and kids gathered in the central portion of Woodstock Park, just south of Steele Street. Tom Vice counted down the minutes, and at precisely 10:30 am, kids fanned out in three searching areas, each area assigned to an age group.
At the Woodstock event, the kids were searching for plastic eggs containing candy, a toy, or a coupon good for a larger toy or sheet of stickers. Since a lot of folks had come out on the sunny morning, organizers asked that each kid take only five eggs - and most everyone complied and shared, so all were satisfied.
The 'man with the megaphone', Tom Vice, said the event - created and run until now by local real estate agent Janis Wigg - was hosted this year by the Woodstock Neighborhood Association, and sponsored by Safeway, BiMart, The UPS Store, Papa Murphy's Pizza, Hollywood Video, and Life House Church.
'We prepared 1,700 Easter Eggs,' Vice explained. 'They were all gathered in about seven minutes. It's incredible to see the great energy here. We easily have over 200 children participating.'
While the Woodstock event features candy and prizes, Vice said, 'The important thing is that this brings together families who live in the area. We're focusing on finding ways to help build community, and the best way is through events like this, that bring people together. Look around! So many people are here having a great time!'