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Easter egg hunt returning to county fairgrounds

Free, family-oriented community event is put on every year by volunteer group

FILE - Children search for Easter eggs at a previous year's mEGGa Egg Hunt. The free event is held annually at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, just west of St. Helens.The annual mEGGa Egg Hunt will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

The yearly event, which is put on by a volunteer committee in south Columbia County, offers a gigantic Easter egg hunt with five areas for children ages 12 and under, as well as other rain-or-shine attractions.

A new feature this year will be the Association of Rapscallion River Rats, from Kelso, Wash. — costumed pirates, with “ships” in which children can ride.

“It’s very exciting, after talking to the pirates. They do things for free, and they just do it for the kids — just like we do,” said event organizer Evelyn Hudson. “We were excited when they said they want to be in our event.”

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Families can partake in demonstrations of archery with the 4-H program and robotics with the St. Helens High School robotics team, as well as a 4-H petting zoo, horse rides, face painting and more.

There will also be a “special needs” egg hunt for children with disabilities up to age 15.

Unlike previous years, there will be no actual plastic eggs this year, Hudson said. Instead, the candy and other goodies that typically fill the eggs will be scattered around on the ground for children to find.

Hudson said organizers decided to make the change after having to wash, dry and package some 30,000 plastic eggs last year.

The long-running Alpenrose Dairy Easter Egg Hunt in Portland also does not use the eggs, she noted.

The event is free of charge. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

There will be a special shuttle service provided by Columbia County Rider from St. Helens High to the fairgrounds on the day of the egg hunt, with pickup running from 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. and return rides running from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This year will mark the 15th annual mEGGa Egg Hunt, according to organizers. The event is put together by volunteers and funded entirely by donations.

Burgerville in St. Helens is holding a “Partnership Night” on Tuesday, March 24, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in collaboration with the event organizers. Ten percent of all sales that evening will be donated to the mEGGa Egg Hunt.