Miss-Lou egg hunt is Sat.

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2011

NATCHEZ — For almost two decades, Bobby Ewing has spent a good portion of each year preparing for five minutes of egg frenzy.

The 53rd annual Miss-Lou Easter Egg Hunt is a highly anticipated event for 1 to 10 year olds from neighborhoods across the community.

The free egg hunt will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Duncan Park.

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Ewing said groups are divided between 1-to-5 year olds and 6-to-10 year olds. The groups will simultaneously hunt eggs in the two different fields separated by the tennis courts at Duncan Park.

“You can’t even see the grass there are so many eggs,” Ewing said.

Ewing said every year the scene is quite a sight.

“I call it the eighth wonder of the world,” Ewing said.

Immediately following the main hunt, Ewing said he arranged a mini-hunt for small children in the infield of one of the ballfields so parents can more easily supervise them.

Eggs are filled with candy, a quarter or a special number that is attached to prizes distributed after the hunt.

“The hunt might be five minutes, but it takes an hour to pass the toys out,” Ewing said. “The truth is, the hunt is really about the prizes. I get stopped on the street and have lots of phone calls, asking how many bicycles and prizes will be given out this year. The prizes really turn (the children) on.”

Ewing said the prizes wouldn’t be possible without the help of local merchants and generous individuals.

“I am really proud of the merchants who do what they do,” Ewing said. “I do work hard on this, but I don’t have to hustle. They know (this event) is a big deal for Natchez.”

Ewing said seven bikes will be distributed this year along with a plethora of name brand toys.

“This is just for kids,” Ewing said. “Nowadays kids grow up too fast.”

Ewing’s father started the hunt 53 years ago. The hunt was originally for local orphans, and eventually branched out to the whole community.

“It grew in popularity, so they opened it for everybody,” Ewing said. “I call the egg hunt an icon for the City of Natchez,” Ewing said.

“Most kids, white or black, bring their fathers or grandfathers (who participated) in the past themselves.”

Ewing said he is fine with being known as the “Easter bunny” around the Miss-Lou. He said seeing children excited about the hunt and prizes is the ultimate reward.

Families are reminded to bring containers, anything from Easter baskets to plastic bags, to carry eggs and prizes.

“Jelly Bean,” the official egg hunt mascot, will be at Duncan Park to pass out candy and prizes to children.