They came with baskets but left with candy Sunday afternoon at Crown Park in Camas.
Gathered with other children their age, kids stood around one of several roped-off sections of the park. Then the countdown began.
“Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” the children yelled before rushing onto the field. They scrambled to scoop up eggs strewn among the park’s grass, daisies and dandy lions.
It was all over in minutes. Children returned to their parents and crouched over their baskets, opening the plastic eggs. Some contained bubble gum, a Tootsie Roll or a prize token.
The Easter egg hunt was one of several that took place over the holiday weekend. The one at Crown Park was free and included more than 10,000 eggs for children ages 2 to 12 to find.
“It was pretty fun, but it all went by pretty quick,” said 10-year-old Olivia Kuhnel, of Camas. It was her first time at a public Easter egg hunt. Usually, her family does their own hunt at home.
After competing with the group of 10- to 12-year-olds Sunday, Olivia went away with about 10 eggs. Her mother, Mary Kuhnel, said the family will probably be back next year.
Paige Nelson, 11, of Camas scored about 15 eggs in the hunt. Her advice?
“Go fast, and have a handful before you put them in the basket,” she said. Putting each egg in the basket one-by-one only wastes precious time.
After the egg hunt, children who found prize tokens stood in line to collect their winnings, which included bouncy balls, slap bracelets and pinwheels.
As the event wound down, an organizer reunited children with their parents by announcing names over the park’s PA system. Other families migrated to a nearby playground or prepared for the crazy-hat contest.
Event organizers estimated more than 1,100 people flocked to Crown Park for the egg hunt. The dry weather Sunday afternoon likely played a role in the turnout, said Krista Bashaw, recreation coordinator with the city of Camas.
“We’re thrilled for them to be here,” she said, adding it was the largest crowd she had seen in her 20 years working at the event.
Kids at Crown Park also showed off their creative side in the event’s hat contest. A couple dozen of the children showed up for the judging, sporting hats decorated with straw, moss, flowers, ribbon, toy birds and even small stuffed animals.
Juliana Munoz, 4, of Puyallup won first place in the hat contest among other children her age. Her mother, Chantell Munoz, said she was in town visiting her aunt in Camas, and the egg hunt and hat contest sounded fun.
She made the hat Sunday morning with some direction from Juliana. The 4-year-old’s pink sun hat featured purple bows, a bunny stuffed animal on top and strings of pink, Styrofoam eggs dangling all around the hat’s brim. In all, it took a couple of hours to make.
Chantell Munoz said she could tell her daughter enjoyed her afternoon at the park. “It was fun but pure chaos,” she said.