Participants serious about Easter egg hunts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Forget all preconceived notions about Easter egg hunts being child’s play &045; they were serious business for both children and their parents at two events held Saturday.

Prior to that morning’s hunt at Duncan Park, 9-year-old Derek Thompson &045; one of several siblings at the event, baskets in hand &045; said he didn’t have a strategy formulated yet for getting the most eggs.

&uot;Run fast!&uot; said his stepmother, Denise Williams.

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Whatever Thompson has done in the past seems to have worked, since he said he found a McDonald’s gift certificate in one of the plastic eggs he collected from the hunt last year.

&uot;We want to find the $100,&uot; Williams said as she, the children and their mother, Denise Williams, headed to one of the two ballfields on which the hunt was held.

Soon he and hundreds of others children, at the call of the announcer, began racing across the ballfields, grabbing as many eggs as possible and almost running over each other in the process.

In just a few minutes, they were back at the edges of the fields, ripping open the eggs to see what they won. They then headed to the nearest dugout to collect prizes ranging from bicycles to stuffed toys to board games.

The Ewing family has sponsored that event for almost 40 years.

Just an hour later, some of the same children arrived at the Wharlest Jackson Elks Lodge on Old D’Evereaux Street to hunt even more eggs &045; and, hopefully, collect even more prizes.

&uot;You better get up front so you can get you some eggs,&uot; one mother said, scooting her child closer to the front of the crowd, with dozens of other children pressing in.

&uot;We’re very pleased with the turnout,&uot; said Edith Lewis, daughter ruler of the local Daughters of Elks chapter.

Jacqueline Letcher, vice daughter ruler, said the group held the event &uot;because we’re all about the children.&uot;