The Thrill of the Hunt

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Umatilla Easter Egg Hunt
Two thousand Easter Eggs will be hidden at West Park near McNary Dam this Saturday. Kids under 12 are invited to come down and hunt for eggs.
NEONOW FILE PHOTO

It took weeks to plan, 90 minutes to stuff the eggs, 45 minutes to hide them and less than five minutes after it started – it was over.

Like pirahnas devouring their helpless prey, the 200 or so kids taking part in the third annual Umatilla Chamber of Commerce Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday made quick work of the more than 2,000 eggs spread throughout West Park.

“It took us 45 minutes to set down all the eggs and it seemed like 30 seconds later they were all picked up,” said Chamber Board Member Jennifer Wylie, laughing at the thought.

“It’s like Christmas morning,” said Chamber Director Karen Hutchinson-Talaski. “Rip open the presents and it’s over.”

Natalee Stevens eggs
5-year-old Natalie Stevens of Umatilla shows off her collection.
The eggs were spread out in three separate areas: One for children up to age 3, another for ages 4 to 6, and a third for kids 7 to 10. Pink ribbons were used to divide the different areas from one another. This was the second year the egg hunt was held at West Park. In its first year, the event was held at Umatilla Marina Park, but Hutchinson-Talaski said West Park offers a larger, more open space for the children.

“It’s fun to see the excitement on the kids’ faces,” she said. “Some come wearing their Easter dresses and they all get excited when they find the eggs.”

Hutchinson-Talaski said about a dozen volunteers spent an hour and half last Saturday stuffing the plastic eggs with treats for the egg hunt. Inside the eggs were miniature toys, stickers, coins and candy.

Once the hunt was over, the kids had one of two things in mind: Plop down and open their eggs or make for the playground and burn off any excess energy they had left.

One young Stanfield boy, Declan Jones, wasted no time biting into a chocolate Easter egg. He appeared to thoroughly

Declan Jones Egg
Declan Jones, 5, enjoys the fruit – or chocolate – of his labor Saturday.
enjoy the treat, but all was not right in the 3-year-old’s world. When asked if he enjoyed the hunt, Declan stated – in no uncertain terms – “No I did not.”

When asked what was wrong, he said he hadn’t had a chance yet to play at the playground. His mother, Jennifer Colton-Jones, assured him he would get his chance. It wasn’t entirely obvious if this was satisfactory to Declan – his attention was focused on the chocolate egg.

The organizers of the egg hunt, however, were very pleased with the morning’s event. Someone asked if they would have to stick around long to search for any undiscovered eggs.

“Oh no,” Wylie said. “They got them all.”