Easter Egg Hunt Largest in Hudson Valley
By Eugenia Moskowitz
“Placemaking hit it out of the park again,” said Kevin Radday, owner of Betty’s Country Kitchen — also known for the past month as Eggquarters — where dozens of volunteers had come to donate plastic eggs, candy, and the manpower to stuff them — all 11,500 of them — for the village’s second annual Easter Bonnet Parade and Egg Hunt.
“The number of people who came together to make this happen turned it officially into the biggest egg hunt in the Hudson Valley,” said Placemaking’s egg-tacular organizer and events committee member Rebecca Akers. “We had a ton of volunteers come down to Eggquarters and everything was donated by community individuals and businesses. We did the egg hunt at Firemen’s Memorial Park last year but ended up doing it at Vern Allen this year because we knew it was going to be a much bigger event after the success of Witchingtonville, our Halloween festival.”
And the egg-seekers and bonnet-wearers came — in droves. Washingtonville Police Department Chief Brian Zaccaro estimated the crowd at somewhere just above 1,500 people. Teenagers from Washingtonville High School volunteered to drop the eggs into three marked-off grass squares, each for different age groups and altogether the size of a football field. Anticipation built, the horn sounded, and the children took off running. “To see them swoop across the grass and pick it clean in just three minutes is incredible,” Radday said. “What a wonderful community we have: the village board, Placemaking, the DPW. It’s a great day for Washingtonville, and beyond.” He laughed at the sight of his daughter Elizabeth collecting eggs. “Look at this chaos. Absolutely wonderful!”
The Easter Bonnet Parade, led by the Easter Bunny himself, was organized by Mary Beth Stegenga, Placemaking events committee chairperson, who said, “I’m so happy, it makes the hard work of planning worth it to see all the kids coming with their creative bonnets. It just really warms my heart.” Many bonnets had themes, such as second grader Abbie Baisley’s tall hat piled high with objects and signs giving thanks for all her favorite places around town. Stegenga spearheaded Washingtonville’s inaugural bonnet parade last year, and that the parade and egg hunt have grown in such a short time from a small locals-only event into a major draw, bringing in families from surrounding areas, speaks to both the Placemaking group’s ability to organize and advertise, as well as Washingtonville’s ability to support these efforts to make the village a destination place, which those involved in creating the Placemaking momentum believe supports local businesses, real estate values, and the town’s quality of life.
It was also just a lot of good clean fun for Washingtonville peeps. While the crowd was large, the area was vast, parents said it was well-organized and not overwhelming or congested, and every child finished with a bag full of eggs. Local food and crafts vendors made it egg-citing for both children and parents, including dancing to tunes spun by DJ Jeff Blizard. And the sunny cloudless sky and warm temps was, as one lifelong resident said, “A perfect way to spend the day before Easter Sunday. After a long cold winter, just a great way to welcome spring.”
Lots more photos in this week’s Orange County Post
CAPTION 1: Washingtonville’s Vern Allen Park was sprinkled with 11,500 stuffed eggs to create the biggest egg hunt in the Hudson Valley. (Photo by Rich Calore Jr.)
CAPTION 2: Cousins loved spending the egg-stra special day together. (Photo by Jessica Nardo)