Easter Comes Early

Hundreds of local children had an opportunity to participate in Easter celebrations a day early.

This is because a number of Easter egg hunts, including an Easter Carnival at the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Village, took place throughout the area on a mild and sunny Saturday morning.

At 10 a.m., the 52nd annual East Side Fellowship Easter egg hunt took place at Jamestown Community College’s tennis court area on Curtis Street. Traditionally held in College Park, this year’s hunt was moved to the tennis courts due to wet and muddy conditions.

Between 200 and 300 children and their families visited this year’s hunt on the courts, which consisted of candy being scattered throughout the courts and the lawn outside. Children were divided into three separate age groups-1-4, 5-8 and 9-11- and were set loose to gather as much candy as they could find.

Dylan Muntz, an 11-year-old participant, said he has attended the hunt for several years, and has improved his candy-gathering skills over that time.

“It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of candy,” said Dylan. “You just have to run really fast to get a lot of candy.”

According to Barry Mason, an East Side Fellowship member since 1968, the East Side Fellowship hunt was started in 1961 because of an unfortunate experience during a local Easter egg hunt from the previous year.

“One of the club members took a bunch of the little kids, and I was one of them, to the Allen Park egg hunt back in 1960; and nobody found anything,” said Mason, who is the son of one of the club’s founding members. “So the member that brought us down (to the hunt), Pat DeSantis, took us all to J.C. Kelso and bought us each a chocolate egg so we had something. The following year, we started the (East Side Fellowship Easter egg) hunt up at the club grounds on Woodlawn Avenue just for club members. We had it up there for two years, then we started having it at the Hundred-Acre Lot, which is now College Park-and we opened it up to anybody that wanted to come down.”

The East Side Fellowship Easter egg hunt has several sponsors, which provide mostly monetary donations so the club can buy the materials it needs. The sponsors include: B.P.O Elks Lodge 263; Lind Funeral Home; Brothers by Choice; Loyal Order of Moose 2301; Fessenden, Laumer and DeAngelo; Lucian Lodestro; Greater Chautauqua FCU; McDonald’s; IBEW Local 106; Morton Club Beneficiary Association; Jim Patti; Southside Redemption Center; Kendall Club; and Vincent Nalbone.

“Our goal is for no kid to go home empty-handed,” said Mason.

Also relocated due to weather conditions was the 66th annual Allen Park Easter egg hunt. Hosted by the Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, the traditionally playground-oriented hunt was held inside the Allen Park Ice Rink.

The fun kicked off at 10:30 a.m., with the arrival of the Easter Bunny by fire truck. Over the course of the event, more than 3,000 eggs-which the JCC student ambassadors program helped to construct-were hidden and scattered throughout the designated hunt area. Two gold and two silver eggs were donated in memoriam of Mark Hess, who was a sponsor of the event for many years.

All children 12 years of age and under were welcomed to participate, but due to a single confined hunting space, they were split into three age groups that went into the rink separately. According to Julia Ciesla-Hanley, recreation coordinator, this is the second year that the event has been relegated to the ice rink.

“It’s one of those events where weather affects turnout,” she said. “It’s a little bit cold out, there’s snow on the ground, and we just thought that it would be a little bit easier, depending on what happened with the weather, to do it inside this year. Normally, we’re over on the playgrounds, so it’s a little tricky this year because of taking in one age group at a time.”

The annual Allen Park Easter egg hunt has gathered many sponsors over the years, which provide mainly monetary donations. They include: the Sertoma Club of Jamestown; Allen Park Women’s Club; Morton Club; Kendall Club; Northwest Savings Bank; Jamestown Babe Ruth League; Jamestown Bowling Company; McDonald’s; Wendy’s; Media One Group; and Linda Crossley at Esquire Cleaners.