Hundreds of anxious children were lined up and ready to go when the Ashland police siren went off at 1 p.m. Sunday, beginning the 52nd annual Ashland Easter Egg Hunt at Lithia Park.
This event has been sponsored and hosted by the Rotary Club of Ashland since 1957. The Ashland Safeway donates 2,400 eggs, which are then cooked and colored by the Southern Oregon University Cascade Dining Hall staff. Rotary Club volunteers help set up the hunt and the distribution of the eggs to each age group.
On Sunday, the Easter Bunny greeted children and posed for pictures while balloons were handed out by volunteers.
Baskets and bags in hand, children darted around while gathering colored eggs and candy. Each age group had two shiny golden eggs scattered among the colored eggs. Once they were found, the golden eggs were exchanged for a special prize.
One of the golden-egg-finders this year was 8-year-old Dylan, whose prize was a Cheeky Monkey Webkinz, a popular stuffed animal. Dylan said he didn't have to look too hard to find the golden egg and was excited to have his first Webkinz, since most of his friends already had one.
Over in the younger age groups the toddlers wandered around, slightly confused by all of the excitement.
With a little guidance from parents, grandparents and older siblings, the younger children quickly learned the art of egg hunting and were excited to look for more.
"We've been doing this for four years," an Ashland mom said. "It's become a tradition for our family."