WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Lions Club’s annual Easter egg hunt is returning this year, following disappointment when the club cancelled its 81st annual hunt last year.
The Easter Egg Hunt was started by the club in 1936 and has carried on every year until 2016, when the club had to cancel it due to a lack of volunteers. This year, members of the Westfield Kiwanis Club and Friends of Mindowaskin Park will volunteer their time and assistance to ensure the egg hunt can take place.
“It was just unfortunate,” Lions Club member Mike Gordeuk said of the cancelation. “We’ve had the hunt every year since 1936, except for last year and maybe a year during World War II. That’s why we appreciate the help of the Kiwanis Club and Friends of the Mindowaskin Park. I like the spirit of two other service clubs coming together to help us out.”
Gordeuk feels that last year’s cancelation may have played a part in the overcrowding and misbehavior that took place last year during an egg hunt at Williams Nursery, which for the first time in about 20 years will not be hosting a hunt this spring. Gordeuk said he has no concerns about crowd control at the park.
“I have no qualms at all,” Gordeuk said. “The hunt is real simple, old-fashioned and very nice. The only rascal I’ve ever heard of at the hunt was Charles Addams [a Westfield native and creator of the Addams Family].”
About 600 eggs will be hidden within the park for kids ages seven and younger to find. Following the hunt, families will have the opportunity to take photos with the Easter Bunny. The event is free, but a donation bucket will be set up next to the Easter Bunny for the Lions Club, which donates proceeds to sight preservation and blindness prevention, Gordeuk said.
“We have multi-generational families come,” Gordeuk said. “People who participated in the 1940’s come now with their grandchildren, or even just to watch. It’s things like this that make the town a community.”
The egg hunt will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Mindowaskin Park. Gordeuk said it’s imperative to arrive by 12:45 p.m., or the kids might miss the hunt.
“It starts at 1 p.m. and lasts about three seconds,” Gordeuk said with a laugh. “When the kids take off, it’s pretty funny. It makes a great shot if you’re taking pictures.”