Cora Hanson, 7, beamed at the camera, showing off her two brand-new adult teeth. Behind her, the Easter Bunny was serving looks – waving, bowing and striking the Thinking Man pose.
Melissa Brewer of 4Ever Photography issued the verbal prompts and captured the moment. Families dressed in their Easter best queued up next to the elaborate garden set, complete with flowers, giant mushrooms and a white picket fence.
Cora and her grandmother, Gail Hanson, were one of the 40-plus families to participate in the springtime photo event at the Vancouver Mall on Saturday. Held from noon to 5 p.m., it was the last chance to capture the mall Easter Bunny in all of its cotton-tailed, velvet-eared glory. The previous photo events, held over the last two weekends, were similarly hopping.
For Cora, the photos were just one stop in a saga of Easter celebrations. Snagging a few souvenirs on the way out (a build-your-own garden gnome paper craft, and a package of jelly beans), she said she looks forward to not one but two Easter egg hunts today: one at her house, and one at Grandma’s.
They go all out for the holiday.
“We come through every year,” Gail Hanson said.
The one exception was last year, Hanson noted. COVID-19 forced the 2020 Easter celebration at Vancouver Mall outdoors, with a drive-by event that let children wave at the bunny from their cars.
Though the drive-by event was a creative adaptation, it just wasn’t the same, Vancouver Mall spokesperson Amy Tanska said. That the mall was able to restart the Easter photo tradition this year marked a welcome return to form. And this particular bunny had an undeniably enthusiastic flair, Tanska added. It was hard not to smile, whether or not a photographer had a camera pointed your way.
“The Easter Bunny already has an automatic face mask,” Tanska added.
The event, organized by Portland-based Red Shoe Productions, included pandemic precautions. Staff sanitized the set in between families, rushing to spray and wipe down the decorative bench between 15-minute time slots. Families waiting in line were encouraged to maintain 6 feet of social distancing space.
To minimize waiting times, families were also strongly encouraged to book a time slot online ahead of time, Tansaka said. Walk-ups were still accepted depending on availability.
Families could purchase their photo packages online after the fact, at www.shopvancouvermall.com/easter. The page also features holiday-themed crafts to complete at home, including downloadable Easter coloring book pages.