HOPATCONG, NJ – The icy wind whipped off of Lake Hopatcong onto the slopes of Modick Park on Saturday, March 23, as more than 400 small children took about two minutes to collect 6,000 plastic eggs.
Cathy Bowen, chair of the borough’s recreation commission, said the two minutes may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but the number of children, and the number of eggs were accurate.
The commission and helpers started hiding eggs along the slope and around the playground. at 10 a.m., and the hunt began at noon.
The children scurried around the scattered patches of snow that remained on the park. Bower noted the hunt was postponed from the week before, because the entire park was snow-covered.
“The people hiding the eggs would have slipped and fallen, never mind the kids running to find them.” She said she prefers when Easter is in April because “winter doesn’t go away in Hopatcong, we’re five to 10 degrees colder than other places. There’s no snow in Parsippany.”
Sue Parichuk, recreation director, said this is the fourth year recreation has sponsored the egg hunt. Prior to that, the Hopatcong Business League held an egg hunt.
Some changes will be made for next year’s hunt, Bowen said. They will still hide plastic eggs containing candy, gum or stickers, but the hunt will be open only to children up to age 9. It has been open to 11-year-olds, but “the littler ones get run over by the bigger ones.”
Hopatcong has seen a surge in the preschooler population, which means the ratio of tiny children to bigger ones has changed.
"We’ll just open it to Hudson Maxim and Tulsa Trail students,” not to those at the Middle School, she said. “The littles have more fun anyway.”
Besides hunting for eggs, the children were visited by the Easter Bunny, also known as Diana the Bunny, Parichuk said.
Parichuk also made sure she had a chance to thank the borough’s senior citizens’ organization for stuffing many of the plastic eggs at the senior center.
“Those seniors move fast,” when stuffing eggs, she said.
She also thanked the Hopatcong CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] for helping.
As the last few children were playing on the playground equipment, and their parents were shivering, Bowen talked about the recreation commission’s plans for more activities during the year.
"We want to put on as many events as possible for the community,” she said.
Besides the annual Halloween parade, which she hopes is not snowed out or hurricaned out in 2013 as it has in recent years, recreation is again sponsoring a magician in the park on Hopatcong Day.
“He’ll do two shows this summer,” she said.
Rec will also show movies in the park this year and is adding a movie in September, she added.
New to the recreation commission is its Facebook Page, which has been up for about a month. It is linked to the borough page. Bowen is encouraging everyone in the borough to like the page and use it to keep up with activities.
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