Palestine YMCA and partner organizations drew roughly 300 kids to its “eggstraordinary” city-wide egg hunt and Color Me Fun Run April 3. Palestine Regional Medical Center sponsored the free activities at the Alex Patel Palestine YMCA Soccer Complex as part of National Healthy Kids Day.
The egg hunt’s return this year, after a hiatus during 2020, required months of preparation. Volunteers and YMCA employees stuffed 20,000 eggs with candy throughout March.
Saturday’s weather threatened to cancel the eggstravaganza when a brief shower fell at 7 a.m.; however, volunteers from Walmart and the city of Palestine began distributing the eggs at 7:15 a.m. with no further precipitation.
As hundreds of families began arriving around 9 a.m., the overcast sky held temperatures between 55 to 60 degrees throughout the morning.
“We were super excited to see so many people come out here and participate even though the weather was a little iffy,” said Cindy Piersol, chief executive officer of Palestine YMCA.
Piersol said 30 volunteers from the YMCA, Walmart, and the city helped prepare for the event. Walmart volunteers provided crates of fresh fruit, cases of water, and colorful Easter baskets.
Kids participated in activities at vendor booths beginning at 9 a.m. Stephanie Wickware, who works with the Palestine school district’s TACE program, said more than 60 kids stopped by to play educational games throughout the morning.
Makynlee Brownlow, 8, said her best memory from the morning was playing a game at the TACE booth.
Other vendor booths offering kid-friendly activities and snacks included Limitless Insurance LLC, Willowcreek Chiropractic and Wellness, and the YMCA. Limitless Insurance sponsored a photo booth, while YMCA volunteers distributed free T-shirts.
Soccer games also took place early Saturday morning. Josue Chavez, 9, said he played in a soccer game at 9 a.m. and later hunted for Easter eggs.
Egg hunts took place on three separate soccer fields to allow different age groups plenty of room to spread out. Kids hunted in three different age brackets: 9 months to 2 years old; 3 to 6 years old; and 7 to 10 years old.
Kids collected all the eggs in less than an hour and continued playing games until it was time to line up for the Color Me Fun Run at 11 a.m.
More than 100 kids and 65 adults ran in a 1.1 mile course that looped around the complex. Volunteers stationed at 10 gates around the loop threw an eco-friendly color powder on runners as they passed through.