Miss-Lou Easter egg hunt set for today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

NATCHEZ — What began 52 years ago as an Easter egg hunt for a handful of children has evolved into an annual event with thousands of eggs and hundreds of participants, and this morning it’s happening again.

The 52nd annual Miss-Lou Easter Egg Hunt will be 10 a.m. at Duncan Park, and organizer Bobby Ewing said this year’s hunt will have 10,000 eggs, each stuffed with candy, money or a piece of paper with a number that corresponds with a prize.

“I call it, jokingly, the eighth wonder of the world,” Ewing said. “When you see it happen, you won’t believe it. The kids just line up, hundreds of them, and we blow a whistle and they go out into the field, and it doesn’t take them long to pick the eggs up.”

What takes a long time is passing out the prizes, Ewing said.

“Without the support from the local merchants, we couldn’t do this,” he said. “Everybody helps and they give a little bit, be it a prize or money or both, and we would not be able to do it without them.”

The prizes include bicycles, gift certificates and even cases of soda, Ewing said.

When P.K. Ewing — Bobby Ewing’s father — started the hunt, it was originally for the children at the Natchez Children’s Home. The next year, it was expanded to include those being housed at a Natchez Catholic institution.

“Then it got so popular they started inviting everybody,” Ewing said.

“I had a lady call me from Memphis who grew up in Natchez, and she wanted to know if we still do it, and she is going to bring her grandchildren down for the hunt.”

Ewing said children age 1 to 8 from across the Miss-Lou are welcome to participate in the hunt, which is free.

The hunt’s mascot, Jelly Bean the Easter bunny, will also be present to pass out candy and prizes.