Annual egg hunt set for Saturday in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bob Ewing doesn’t have long ears or a fuzzy tail but for many in the Miss-Lou he is the

Easter bunny.

For the past 15 years, Ewing has organized the Miss-Lou Easter Egg Hunt and this year is no different. On Saturday, Ewing will blow his whistle to start the 50th annual Miss-Lou Easter Egg Hunt.

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Ewing said he put on his bunny ears in January and has been working full time since then to get the community egg hunt organized.

“When I started three months ago, I wasn’t so tired, but about two weeks ago I started getting tired,” he said.

But, Ewing said, now that the preparation has hit the home stretch, he’s gotten his second wind.

“I’m running and gunning now,” he said.

But Ewing said memories of the long days and tired feet fade once the people start lining up for the Easter egg hunt.

“When you see (the children) all excited about winning something and getting a prize, that makes it worthwhile,” he said. “And when I see the really, really young ones playing with Jelly Bean, the mascot, that makes it worthwhile.”

The free egg hunt is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., but Ewing said many children start showing up well before then.

“They are just so excited about coming out that they show up at 8 or 8:15,” he said.

The egg hunt is now in its 50th year, and at least one member of Ewing’s family has always been running the show.

The first Easter egg hunt was organized by his father, P.K. Ewing Jr. and then his sister, Diana Nutter and her husband Jim organized the event. Ewing said he took over the work about 15 years ago with his wife, Millie.

This year’s hunt is dedicated to his wife, who died eight months ago. Ewing said it was her energy that kept him going each year.

“She loved to work all day, every day on it,” he said. “She really got into all of it. She gave me new energy.

“She knew it was a good cause and loved that kind of work.”

He said now the event has become so large that it touches almost everyone in the community.

“The whole Miss-Lou chips in in some way,” he said. “Whether they are bringing kids out or they are donating prizes or money.”

And the impact of the event is evident by the growth the Easter egg hunt has experienced since its inception. The event has become so large now that Ewing said he can not imagine Easter weekend without it.

“It started out with maybe 200 eggs at the first one, and we will put out close to 15,000 this year,” Ewing said.

The children won’t be hunting for empty eggs though. Ewing said each egg will contain a prize of some sort. Many will contain candy, and some will have numbered tickets that coordinated with larger numbered prizes.

This year’s prizes include bicycles, assorted toys and stuffed animals.

“When the kids come out and see all those prizes lined up, they really get excited,” Ewing said.

But, he said, even children that don’t score a big prize, will walk away happy.

“If I see a kid walking away with a sad look on his face, I’ll find something for him,” Ewing said. “That’s just part of it. No one should leave upset.”