Hancock community Easter egg hunt draws hundreds

by Lisa Schauer

Storm clouds parted on cue Saturday afternoon, April 1 to reveal a bright blue sky over an emerald field dotted with a rainbow of plastic eggs for the annual Hancock community Easter egg hunt at Widmeyer Park.

Willow Kelly, two, of Hancock was intent on examining her loot at the annual Hancock community Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 1 at Widmeyer Park.

Several hundred people descended on the park for the free event, last held pre- COVID in 2019.

Both eager and reluctant children aged two to 10 were in tow with parents and caregivers egging them on. After a few false starts, three heats were held by age group in cordoned off sections of the park’s grass field.

Volunteers with the Hancock Lions Club stuffed 3,200 plastic eggs with candy, coins and prize tickets over a three-week period, then scattered them over the field out of five-gallon buckets.

“We do it for the kids,” said Carl Pelton of Warfordsburg, a Lions Club member who has staffed the event since its inception over 20 years ago.

A little girl seemed to embody the spirit of Easter, attempt- ing to share her gift with someone less fortunate, at the Hancock community Easter egg hunt.

The Easter bunny made an appearance, mingling with the crowd for photo opportunities. Under a picnic shelter, a table was laden with Easter baskets and toys given away as prizes to members of the public.

Each registered participant received a carton of a half-dozen plastic eggs from Catalpa United Methodist Church.

The clear cartons were labeled resurrection eggs, one per day for Holy Week, each with a Bible scripture inside recounting Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The Bible’s most popular verse, John 3:16, was imprinted on the top, a potent message of hope and faith for Easter, the most important holiday of the year in the Christian faith.

“It’ s a beautiful day and a fun outing. Getting the community together, who may not know each other or the true meaning of Easter, plus one service organization and two churches is a recipe for success,” said master of ceremonies Dan Murphy with Hancock United Methodist Church.

A former town mayor, Murphy was part of the team who first developed the idea of a Hancock community

Easter egg hunt over 20 years ago as a way to have fun and provide information about the meaning of Easter beyond the bunny.

Members of the organizing committee for the Hancock community Easter egg hunt include, left to right, Barb Suffecool, pastor of Catalpa United Methodist Church; co-chair Robin Bur- nett with Hancock United Methodist Church; Donnie Burnett with Hancock United Methodist Church; the Easter bunny costumed character; Carl Pelton with Hancock Lions Club; Becki Wessinger, pastor of Hancock United Methodist Church; Scott McCusker with Hancock Lions Club; and Toby McCarty with Hancock Lions Club. Not pictured: co-chair Tracy Barnhart with Hancock United Methodist Church.
First-timing it at the Hancock community Easter egg hunt were, left to right, Sandy Crouse of Needmore; Oakley Mellott, three; Graham Mellott, five, Megan Mellott and Paisley Mellott, four, all of Needmore.

Robin Burnett and Tracy Barnhart with Hancock United Methodist Church co- chaired the event, which was co-sponsored by her church, Hancock Lions Club, Catalpa United Methodist Church of Hancock, and 15 commercial sponsors.

“It gives children joy. We need to do all we can to bring people together, and I just love the story of Easter,” said Burnett.

“I brought my kids years ago, and today I brought my granddaughter,” said Anita Kelly of Hancock, as she sat in the grass sorting a haul of eggs, recycling the plastic shells back to the Lions Club for next year.