Hundreds of children dragged their parents and grandparents along Friday as they romped, stomped and collected Easter eggs on the north lawn of the Pine Bluff Civic Center complex.
The event was the fifth annual Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Pine Bluff Police Department.
“This is a great annual event and the community really enjoys it,” Interim Police Chief Ivan Whitfield said. “Not only the kids but their parents and grandparents have a good time … we really enjoy it, too.”
While various churches and other groups also hold Easter egg hunts, Whitfield said some children are not able to attend those events, so the annual police hunt is the only chance they get.
“We’re going to make sure that nobody leaves here without some eggs,” he said.
Lt. Shirley Warrior, who heads the department’s Community Relations Division, said officers and volunteers put out 3,138 plastic eggs, 311 prize eggs, 330 money eggs worth a total of $466 and 1,800 boiled and colored eggs.
They also gave away 40 Easter baskets and five bicycles that were donated by Pine Bluff resident Wanda Bateman.
For those who didn’t bring their own baskets, the department had on hand baskets, grass and egg dye. There were also games, a bounce house, popcorn and hot dogs available during the event, as well as packages of cookies and other sweets.
“Lt. Warrior and her staff do an outstanding job every year on a lot of different projects that we do, and whatever the project is, they do it right,” Whitfield said. “We also had a lot of help from sororities, and Super One Foods joined us this year and helped out.”
To ensure that the smaller children have an equal chance to collect some of the brightly colored eggs, the area around the civic center was divided into sections for various age groups; there was even a section for those Whitfield called “senior adults.”
“We want to make sure that nobody leaves here with a frown on their face,” he said.
Before the hunt started, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington was joined by the Easter Bunny — actually a police officer in a bunny costume — and the mayor said she wondered how bunnies and brightly colored eggs became symbols of Easter.
She said she consulted SIRI on her cell phone and learned that in Germany, there was a myth that bunnies were very fertile and laid a lot of eggs that were multi-colored.
Washington said Easter is always in the spring when flowers and plants begin blooming, representing new life everywhere. There is also tradition of rolling the eggs, which symbolized rolling away the stone of the tone of Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection.